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Henrg W. Sage 

1 891 

Cornell University Library 
DA 734.M84 1912 

Place-names of Wales. 

3 1924 028 086 621 

Cornell University 

The original of tliis book is in 
the Cornell University Library. 

There are no known copyright restrictions in 
the United States on the use of the text. 





By THOS. MORGAN (Skewen). 


"Happy is he who knows the origin of things." 

John E. Southall, 149, Dock Street. 



The first edition of this work was pubhshed in 1887, 
and was sold out in a very short time. Orders were 
continually sent for copies, but none could be found in 
the market. Eventually, J. E, Southall, Newport, who 
has taken deep interest in Welsh literature, wrote to 
ask the author for permission to publish a second edition 
of it. Arrangements were made to revise the work care- 
fully and to bring it up to date. The omission of Mon- 
mouthshire Place-Names is due to the following fact : 
The author won a i^io : los. prize in the Newport National 
Eisteddfod, 1897, for "A Dictionary of Welsh Names 
of Places and Rivers in Monmouthshire,'' and it is intended 
to publish a separate edition of this in due course. The 
author gratefully acknowledges the service rendered by 
S. J. Evans, Esq., M. A., Llangefni, in revising this work. 
His suggestions were useful and destined to enhance the 
value of the work. 

In conclusion, the author repeats what he said in the 
first edition : " In writing' upon a subject so full of intri- 
cacies and difficulties the author is far from satisfied with 
his etymological attempts in many instances." 

January, loth, igi2. 



Introduction ... ... ... -.■ ... ••■ i 

Prefixes and Suffixes ... ... ... ... 12 

Wales and Sub-Divisions 41 

Anglesey ... ... ... ... ... ... 45 

Breconshire ... ... ... ... ... ... C)i 

Cardiganshire So 

Carmarthenshire ... ... ... ... ... 98 

Carnarvonshire ... ... ... ... ... 118 

Denbighshire ... ... ... ... ... ... 136 

Fhntshire ... ... ... ... ... ... i^q- 

Glamorganshire ... ... ... ... ... i6r 

Merioneth 213. 

Montgomeryshire ... ... ... ... ... 224 

Pembrokeshire 235 

Radnorshire ... ... ... ... ... ... 255 



IT is surprising that a subject so deeply interesting, 
and so full of historical value, should not have 
induced some competent Welsh scholar to explore 
every possible field of research, and give the results of 
his etymological investigations to the public in a perma- 
nent form. 

Welsh nomenclature has not had the attention it 
deserves. This interesting field has been sadly neglected. 
Very few have made it the ambition of their life to enter 
therein, and glean every possible information necessary 
to throw light upon our Welsh place-names. The 
renowned Lewis Morris was deeply engrossed in this 
branch of literature, and the publication of his Celtic 
Remains would,, assuredly, be an invaluable boon to 
Welsh literati. lago Emlyn's Essay which gained the 
prize at Carmarthen Eisteddfod, September, 1867, is 
eminently calculated to be an admirable quota rendered 
by the Eisteddfod to the elucidation of this subject. 
Most of our Eisteddfodic productions are locked up in 
impenetrable secrecy, but this, fortunately, has seen the 
light of day.. 


With the exception of the above-mentioned essay 
our national institution has done but very little to fill 
this gap in Welsh literature. Worthy attempts have 
been made by some Welsh topographists to clear up the 
etymology of a moiety of our place-names. Others have 
endeavoured to explain their origin and meaning, but 
owing to their imperfect acquaintance with the ver- 
nacular, many of their attempts have been futile and 
unsatisfactory : as Caermarthen, the county of Merlin, 
a Welsh enchanter; Denbigh, a dwelling in the vale; 
Pembroke, the hUl over the brook; Douglas is given to 
mean black- water; Pontypridd, bridge of beauty; Tyr 
Escop, Bishop's tower; Llanfawr, the church of four 
saints, &c., &c. We might quote a large number of 
similar misleading explanations of Welsh words and 
names that are found in English books written evidently 
by other than Welsh^etymologists. The attempts made 
by Englishmen and others ignorant of the language of 
dearVold Cambria to explain Celtic names are often 
failures and something more. Alt maen, high rock, in 
the Lake district has been transformed into the Old 
Man of Coniston ; Bryn Huel or Hual, hill oi shackles, is 
now spelt Brown Willy, a Cornish ridge, and Pensant 
has been designated Penzance. 

Tourists' Guides to Wales may be quite safe and 
trustworthy in their geographical information, but the 
majority of them are woefully misleading in their 
et5miological peregrinations. Some of their derivations 
really deserve to be remitted to the cabinet of philo- 


logical curiosities. Out of many hundred place-names 
in Wales very few of them are explained satisfactorily 
by gazetteers, and the most abstruse of them are left 

It is needless to say that Welsh philologists only can 
deal satisfactorily with purely Welsh names, and even 
they find it no easy task to investigate and ascertain 
the origin of many of them, especially those that 
have undergone so many processes of corruption 
and mutation. " Many Welsh appellations and local 
names," writes one eminent Welsh historian, " have 
been so long corrupted that it would be affectation to 
attempt to reform them." We may be allowed to give 
a few instances of names that have already been grossly 
mutilated : Llechwedd has been dislocated at Leckwith; 
Llys y Fro Nudd has been cruelly distorted into 
Lisworney; Caerau has been pulled down to Carew; 
Magwyr has been almost ruined in Magor; Cnwc-glas 
has been twisted into the form of Knucklas; Merthyr 
has been brutally martyred at Marthrey; Tafarn Yspytty 
ihospitium) has been long converted into Spite Tavern; 
Meinciau has been minced into Minke; Gwentllwg has been 
changed into Wentlooge ; Myddfai has been muffled in 
Mothvey ; Sc.rnau has been beaten down into Sarney, 
&c., &c. 

Considering the rapid strides of English education 
in the Principality, we fear the time is not far distant 
when a moiety of our mutilated Welsh place-names will 
be nothing less than a series of enigmatical problems. 


even to children of Welsh parentage. Many of them 
already seem to them as a meaningless and unpronounce- 
able jumble of letters. This process of mutilation 
appears to be getting more prevalent. Our English 
friends^ not only do not exhibit any sign of bringing 
forth fruit worthy of repentance, but they seem to 
persist in the error of their way in dealing with Welsh 
names. Brynmawr, big hill, is pronounced with stentorian 
voice Brynmor, which signifies the hill by the sea. A 
complete stranger to the place, yet conversant with the 
Welsh tongue, on hearing the latter pronunciation of 
the name, would naturally expect he was going to 
inhale the salubrious sea-air; whereas, after little 
enquiry, he would find himself in a tantalized mood 
distantly situated from the sea. A few miles distant,, at 
Nantybwch, the buck's brook, he might be pardoned if 
he concluded from the pitiful cries of the railway officials 
that there were none-to-book at that station. If he pursued 
his journey to Llwydcoed, grey wood, which is pronounced 
by the railway men Lycod, he would naturally conclude 
that the place must have been sometime noted for rats, 
because Llygod is the Welsh for rats. 

In going through Loughor, provided his geo- 
graphical knowledge were deficient, he would imagine 
himself to have reached Lloegr, which is the Welsh 
name for England. And a few miles lower "down he 
would find himself at Llanelly, which is pronounced by 
•certain parties Lan-healthy, where he would be induced 
to call his inhaling powers into full play, positively 


thinking he was landed in a place famous for its 
salubriousness. In North Wales he would discover 
the same aptitude in the art of mispronunciation. 
Amid the din of the " fiery horse " he might hear a name 
pronounced Aher-jeel, the suffix of which would remind 
him at once of the Hindostanee for a morass, or a 
shallow lake; but a few minutes' talk with a villager 
would soon relieve him from the nightmare of this 
confusion of tongues by furnishing him with the right 
pronunciation, Aber-gele, an out-and-out Welsh name. 
At Dolgellau, which is pronounced Dol-jelly, he might 
almost imagine the name to imply a doll made of jelly; 
and at Llangollen, pronounced Lan-jolen, he would, both 
from a geographical and etymological point of view, 
indulge himself in little selfrcongratulation on being 
conveyed to a jolly place. 

Now he has travelled faf enough to be thoroughly 
convinced of the necessity of making an effort to save 
our local names from the relentless hands of the 
foreigner before they become so distorted as to be 
difficult of recognition even by Welsh etymologists. 

Pure Welsh names should be left intact — ^those 
that have undergone any changes should, if possible, be 
restored to their primitive form, and English equivalents 
or names should be given to each and every one of 

In pursuing the study of Welsh place-names, we 
-were forcibly reminded of Home Tooke's observation. 


as to " letters, like soldiers, being very apt to desert and 
•drop off in a long march." Contraction increases our 
■difficulties in endeavouring to get at the full and correct 
import of words. If the American tendency — to pro- 
nounce words exactly as they are spelt arid written — 
were a universal principle, the burdens of philologists 
would be considerably lessened. Such is not the case 
in Welsh nomenclature. Although every Welsh letter 
is supposed to have its own distinct sound, wherever 
placed, many of them have dropped off in long marches, 
and some indeed in exceedingly short marches, and it 
is with great difficulty we have induced some of them 
to return to their proper places in the etymological 
,army — some, probably, never to return; hence the 
primary form of many a name cannot be obtained nor 
the true meeming ascertained. 

Latinized and Anglicized forms of Welsh names con- 
siderably enhance our difficulties. Mon was transmuted 
lo Mona, Aberconwy to Aberconovium,Gobannium to Aber- 
;gavenny, Aberogwr to Ogmore, Nedd to Nidium, Coed-dy to 
Coyty, Talyfan to Talavan, Sili to Sully, Llys-y-Fro-Nudd 
to Lisworney, Llanyffydd to Lamphey, Llandeg to Lantea- 
gue, Gwynfa to Wenvoe, &c. Our names, like our fathers, 
were mercilessly treated by our foreign invaders. 

Hybridism is another- element that renders Welsh 
nomenclature exceedingly difficult and perplexing. 
Different nations visited our shores, and played sad havoc 
"With our local names, especially those having gutterals 
in them. " We have names of such barbarous origin," 


writes one, " compounded one-half of one language and 
the other of another, that it is impossible to fix a 
criterion how they ought to be spelt." The Flemish 
colony in Pembrokeshire, in the reign of Henry I., and 
the Norman settlement in the south of Glamorgan, in 
the 11th century, are chiefly responsible for this etymo- 
logical jumble. The Norman Conquest affected the 
English language more than anything that happened 
either before or after it, but very little of its effect is 
found in the Welsh, except in place-names. These 
hybrid names, albeit, are full of historical value, because 
they give us geographical clues to the inroads and 
settlements of these foreign invaders. 

Alluding to the desirability of getting a correct 
definition of an effete nomenclature, one writer remarks, 
" It must be borne in mind that the nomenclature of our 
country greatly explains the early history of Britain 
from the time of the first colonists, the settlement of 
the Druids, and their subsequent power both in civil 
and religious matters, and its continuance down to the 
age of Suetonius, and later stUl, as the old superstition 
was not quite eradicated for many ages afterwards. 
Their mythology has left its marks on numerous 
places, even where their lithonic structures have been 
demolished." After all it is, as Defoe ironically remarks 
in his " True-born Englishmen," 

With easy pains you may distinguish 

Your Roman-Saxon-Danish-Norman-English. 


Personal names enter very largely into Welsh 
names of places. The first place-name we have on 
record was formed after this fashion, " And he (Cain) 
builded a city, and called the name of the city after the 
name of his son, Enoch." Gen. iv., 17. 

These personal names are invariably in the 
vernacular affixed to words, more or less, of a 
descriptive character, as Trelales ; tre, the descriptive 
first, then comes the personal, Lales ; Porthmadog, porth, 
the descriptive, then follows the name Madog. The 
majority of names beginning with Llan belong to this 
section. In Saxon and Norse names the reverse of this 
is the general rule. The descriptive part of the name 
comes last, preceded by a personal or common name, 
such as Tenby ; Ten, a mutation of Dane, and hy, the 
Norse for a dwelling, hence the dwelling-place of the 
Danes. Walton, Walter's town; Williamston, William's 
town; Gomfreston, Gomfre's town; &c. 

It was customary in olden times in Wales for men 
to take their names from the places where they were 
born or resided, as Pennant, Mostyn, &c., and often- 
times the case was reversed. Brecon was called after 
Brychan ; Cardigan after Ceredig ; Merioneth after 
Meirion; Edeymion after Edeyrn; Dogfeilir 3.itev Dogfael; 
Merthyr Tydfil after Tydfil, Brychan's daughter, &c. 
The names of popular Welsh saints have been bestowed 
so liberally on the Llanau as to occasion no little 
confusion. A similar practise prevails in the United 
States from respect to their popular Presidents. The 


Rev. Isaac Taylor tells us that no less than 169 places 
bear the name of Washington, 86 that of Jefferson, 132 
that of Jackson, 71 that of Munroe, and 62 that of 
Harrison. Hagiology has left a deep and wide impress 
upon our nomenclature. St. Mary's name has been 
bestowed upon upwards of 150 churches and chapels in 
the Welsh sees, that of St. Michael upon about 100, 
and that of St. David upon 60 or 70. 

A great number of our place-names describe 
graphically the physical features of the country. 
Mountains, hills, and mounds, rocks and cliffs, glens 
and combes, moors and woods, rivers and brooks, all 
contribute their quota to the treasury of our nomencla- 

Many of them are traced to local traditions, which 
rarely command more than a local circulation. In 
making enquiries at different localities we were more 
than amused to observe the prevalent tendency of the 
inhabitants to trace the origin of their local names to 
traditionary sources. The philologist is often super- 
seded by the traditionist. Graphic and descriptive 
names are frequently explained from a traditional 
stand-point. MachynUaith — a name descriptive of the 
geographical position of the place — was very dogmati- 
cally referred by one to an ancient legend concerning 
some " mochyn-yn-y-llaeth," the pig in the mUk. Troed- 
rhiwfuwch, explained another, means Troed-rhyw-fuwch^ 
the foot of some cow, in allusion to a local tradition 
about a cow that had gone astray. Manorbier, the third 


opines, has reference to a severe conflict between a 
man and a bear in times gone by. Wrexham, says the 
fourth, is obviously a corruption of Gwraig Sam, Sam's 
wife. Crymmych, the fifth avers, is a transposition of 
" Ych yn crymu," the ox stooping, &c., &c. The reader 
may take these fanciful and untenable derivations fo^ 
their worth, as evidences of the tenacity with which 
some people hold to their folk-lore. 

The majority of our place-names, as might have 
been expected, have been derived from purely Celtic 

Bishop Percy says that " in England, although the 
names of the towns and villages are almost universally 
of Anglo-Saxon derivation, yet hills, forests, rivers, &c., 
have generally preserved their old Celtic names." In 
illustrating the prevalence of Celtic names in Britain, 
the Rev. Isaac Taylor writes : " Throughout the whole 
island almost every river-name is Celtic, most of the 
shire-names contain Celtic roots, and a fair sprinkling 
of names of hills, valleys, and fortresses, bear witness 
that the Celt was the aboriginal possessor of the soU; 
while in the border counties of Salop, Hereford, 
Gloucester, Dorset, Somerset, and Devon, and in the 
mountain fastnesses of Derbyshire and Cumberland, 
not only are the names of the great natural features of 
the country derived from the Celtic speech, but we find 
occasional village-names, with the prefixes Ian and tre, 
interspersed among the Saxon patron jnmics." 


What is true of England is pre-eminently true of 
Wales, where the great bulk of place-names are 
distinctly Cymric, everywhere thrusting themselves 
upon our notice as standing proofs of the vitality of the 
language of our progenitors. Many are the false 
prophets that have sarcastically declared, from time to 
time, that the days of the Welsh language have been 
numbered. We might observe, sn passant, that it 
contains more vitality than the Gaelic. The latter is 
only spoken in some parts of Scotland, but the Cymric 
is the domestic language of a large number of the 
Welsh people, wheresoever situated. It is calculated 
that nearly a million of the inhabitants of Wales 
and Monmouthshire use the vernacular in domestic 
conversation, in literary and newspaper reading, or in 
religious exercises. What with the continuation of the 
Cymric in the curriculum of our Universities and 
Theblogical Colleges, its introduction as a compulsory 
subject into many of our public elementary schools, the 
ardency and faithfulness with which it is taught in our 
Sunday-schools from Caergybi to Caerdydd, the ever- 
increasing attention paid and the new life infused into 
it by various institutions, as the Eisteddfod, the Honour- 
able Society of Cymrodorion, the Society for Utilising the 
: Welsh language, and the proverbial clannishness of the 
C57mry ; looking retrospectively and prospectively our 
conviction is that the dear old language contains germs 
of a long and healthy life, and when it shall cease to be 
a vernacular, much of its intrinsic value and glory will 
be preserved in its local names. 


We shall now deal briefly with the chief prefixes 
and suffixes that occur so frequently as components in 
names of places in Wales, in order to avoid entering 
largely into details in tracing their origin in the subse- 
quent pages. Many of them contain the geographical 
and historical clues to a large number of names, and 
since they enter so extensively into Welsh nomen- 
clature, we think it essential to offer a few explanatory 
notes thereon. 

Aber means the mouth of a river, a particular 
point at which the lesser water discharges itself into 
the greater. In the old Welsh it is spelt aper, and 
Professor Rhys, Oxford, derives it from the root ber, 
the Celtic equivalent of fer, in Lat. fer-o, Greek phero, 
English bear. It originally meant a volume of water 
which a river bears or brings into the sea, or into another 
river; but it is now generally used to denote an estuary, 
the mouth of a river. Some think it is cognate with the 
Irish inver : Inverary, mouth of the Airy; and that inver 
and aber are suitable test-words in discriminating 
between the two chief branches of the Celts. Mr 
Taylor says that "if we draw a line across the rnap 


horn a point a little south of Inverary to one a little 
north of Aberdeen we shall find (with very few excep- 
tions) the invers lie to the north-west of the line, and the 
abers to the south-east of it." The Welsh form occurs 
repeatedly in Brittany : Abervrack, Avranches. The 
Norman French haver is identified with the Welsh 
aber. In the lowlands of Scotland we find it in Aber- 
deen, Abernethy, Abercorn, Abertay, &c., and in 
England we find it in Aberford, Berwick, &c. 
Wherever found in Welsh place-names it is almost 
invariably followed by a proper or common name, 
indicating a brook* or river flowing into another river, 
or the sea. 

jg^ Note — ^The reader should always pronounce Cymry and 
Celt as if spelt with a K. 

AcH is a Celtic derivative particle denoting water. 
Agh in Ireland means a ford, och signifies the same in 
Scotland, and the Latin aqua has the same meaning. 
The Sanscrit ux, uks, means to water. We find many 
brooks and rivers called Clydach, sheltering water; 
AchdAu means black water, and gwyach is a general term 
for several species of water-fowl. 

Afon, a river, comes probably from the Celtic 
awon, the moving water. In the Manx language it is 
written Aon, in the Gaelic abhainn (pronounced avain), 
and in the Itinerary of Antonius it is Abona. It is found 
in English in the form of Avon, which, in the opinion of 
Professor Rhys, appears to have been entitled to a i; as 
early as the time of Tacitus. This form occasions 


redundancy in the English language. To say " Bristol 
is on the river Avon " is tantamount to saying " Bristol 
is on the river river." Afon, a common name, haS 
become a proper name in England, but in Wales it is 
the generic term for a river. 

Ar signifies " ploughed land." Arddu, to plough 
The Greek word for a plough is arotron, the Latin is 
aratrum, the Norse is ardr, the Irish is arathar, and the 
Welsh is aradr. The English " harrow " was originally 
a rude instrument drawn over ploughed land to level it 
and break the clods, and to cover -seed when sown. 
Ploughing and reaping are called " earing and harvest." 
Compare Gen. xlv., 6.; Ex. xxxiv., 21. 

When ar is used as a sufiix it generally has an 
agricultural signification, but when used as a prefix it 
is a preposition, meaning on, upon : Arddwr, on the 
water; Argoed, on. or above a wood. Ar, signifies a 
plain surface, level ground, a plot of land taken in 
from the mountain. 

Bettws. — ^This is one of the most popular place- 
names in Wales, and yet one of the most difficult, to 
explain. We shall give a few of the many derivations 
given. 1. Byd-bod, a dwelling-place, and tws, an 
extremity, either of a valley or a glen, or a copse of 
wood. 2. A corrupted form of peat-house, a house 
constructed of peat or turf. 3. Bait-house, a house for 
refreshment by men, or food by beasts, on a journey. 
4. Bed-bedd, a grave; ws, a place; signifying a burial 


place. 5. Some derive the name from the Latin Hos- 
pitium, or the Welsh Ysfytty, hospital; and maintain 
that they became very prevalent at the time of the 
Crusade. 6. Some think it is a Welsh form of the Latin 
beatus, blessed, and that it refers to the religious institu- 
tion of St. Beuno. 7. Bedw-as, a birch-grove situate 
between hUl and vale. 8. Bod, dwelling-place; gwys 
signifies low and deep, what lies low. Bettws would 
then signify a low or sheltered place. The proverb 
fryn i fettws (from hill to dale) accords with this 
signification. 9. Some refer it to abhatis, an appendage 
to a monastery or an abbey, taking it as one of the few 
Latin words which found a permanent place in the 
Welsh language. 10. The most popular derivation is 
bead-house, an ecclesiastical term signifying a hospital 
or alms-house, erected for poor religious persons near the 
church in which the founder was interred, and for whose 
soul they were required to pray. 

An eminent Welsh antiquarian writes that " Bettws 
was never an institution properly speaking, and it 
never existed as a distinct religious house, but un- 
doubtedly it did exist in some instances as a cell in 
connection with large abbeys. Soon after the principal 
abbeys had been founded in this country, and their 
fame as seats of piety and learning had spread far and 
wide, pilgrims began to flock to them, many of whom 
had long distances to travel, on account of which houses 
of prayer, called bead-houses, were erected at long 
intervals along their course, into which the wearied 


pilgrims entered to offer prayers on their way to and 
irom the abbey. I believe we never have a head-house 
(Bettws) but on the way to an abbey. When the abbeys 
were suppressed, most of these head-houses fell into 
ruin, as a matter of course, while a few of them may 
have been developed into parish churches and chapels 
of ease, after the Reformation. I do not think it has a 
Welsh origin, for the reason that the thing itself was 
imported from Normandy, and I am of opinion that 
Bettws as a place-name was not in existence prior to the 
Ivlorman survey." 

Some aver that the application of the term Bettws 
to parochial churches first occurs in the Taxation of 
Benefices by order of Pope Nicholas IV, about the year 
1292. The name probably originated between the early 
part of the 12th and the latter part of the 13th centuries. 
The best way to ascertain the etymology and signification 
of the word is by investigating the history and topo- 
graphy of each place bearing that name. If the word 
is to be derived from English or Latin words, how are 
we to account for the fact that it is exclusively used in 
Wales and Monmouthshire, while there is not a single 
instance of it in the whole of England ? Professor Rhys 
says, " Bettws would be phonologically accounted for 
exactly by supposing it to be the English hed-hus, or 
home of prayer, but if that origin be the correct one to 
assume, there is the historical difficulty : where is there 
any account of this institution bearing an English 
name ?" Just so. If the name had been perpetuated 


in English as it has been in Wales, bead-house would be 
the most plausible of all the derivations. There were 
no rehgious houses peculiar to Wales, and if there had 
been such, the Cymry, assuredly, would not have given 
them foreign names but their own. When the thing is 
peculiarly and exclusively Welsh, the people always 
give it their own, and not a borrowed name. Eisteddfod, 
for example, is a purely Welsh institution, hence 
the name. We offer the 11th explanation. Bedw, 
birch trees; ws, a term appended to places with un- 
dulating grounds, precipitous. If the word was]applied 
in olden times to chapels in Wales which were subject 
to other churches in the neighbourhood, they were 
probably so called because they were built in birch 

Blaen means extremity, the top of anything, a 
beginning or source. It is frequently used as a prefix in 
the names of places that are situated at the extreme 
end of a valley or near the sources of brooks and rivers. 
Blaenau afonydd, the sources of rivers. Dwfr y blaenau, 
water or stream from the height. 

Bod originally meant a lord's residence. Having 
fixed upon a certain spot of land, he would build a 
dweUing-house thereon, which was called bod, and the 
name of the builder or owner was added to distinguish 
it from other dwelling-houses, hence we have Bodowain^ 
Bodedeyrn, &c. He had two residences — yr Hafod, the 
summer residence, and Gaeafod, the winter residence. 
But in course of time bod was used to designate any 
house or dwelling-place. Compare the English " abode." 


Bron means a round protuberance, and is equiva- 
lent to the English breast. In place-names it signifies 
the breast of a hill. Ar frest y mynydd, is a very common 
expression, meaning on the breast of the mountain. 

Bryn seems to be a compound of hre, a mountain, 
and the diminutive yn ; hence hreyn, afterwards con- 
tracted into hryn, a small mountain, a hill. It enters 
largely into Welsh place-names, and we find it also 
Anglicized in Breandown, a high ridge near Weston- 
super-Mare; Brendon, a part of the great ridge of 
Exmoor; Brinsop, near Hereford, &c. 

BwLCH signifies a break or breach. It is generally 
found in names of places where there is a narrow pass 
in the mountains. 

Caer is one of our enchorial names for a wall or 
mound for defence, the wall of a city or castle, a fortress 
Perhaps the root is cau, to shut up, to fence, to enclose 
with a hedge. Cue means a field enclosed with hedges. 
Caeran were the most ancient military earthworks in the 
Principality, and when the Britons began to build cities 
they surrounded them by a fortified wall called caer. 

The city of Chester is still popularly called Caer, 
from the ancient wall that has encircled it for ages. 
Chester — a Saxonized form of the Latin castruni, a fort, 
and one of the few words recognised as directly inherited 
from the Roman invaders — is a common prefix and 
suffix in English place-names; as Colchester, Man- 
chester, Chesterford, Chesterton. In the Anglian and 


Danish districts we find " Chester " is replaced by 
"caster"; as Doncaster, Lancaster, &c., but both 
forms are allied to casirum, which is a Latinization of 
the Celtic caer. As the Latin casirum will always be an 
etymological souvenir to future generations of the 
Roman incursions, and the havoc they committed here 
ere " Britannia ruled the waves," even so the Celtic 
word caer, which is found in so many Welsh and a few 
English place-names, will ever be an historical finger- 
post, pointing to the necessity which was laid upon our 
forefathers to defend themselves against foreign bands 
of invaders. The word is also a standing proof in 
England that the dominion of the ancient Cymry was 
erstwhile considerably more extensive than that of 
little Wales. If the reader will be so fortunate as to 
find a map of England which was published in the time 
of Ella, the first Bretwalda of the Saxon race, the 
recurrent caer would make him almost imagine he was 
perusing the map of Wales. There he would find 
Caer -legion, Chester, which is still called Caerlleon; 
Caer-Badon, Bath; Caer-Glou, Gloucester; Caer-Ebrawc, 
Eboracum of the Romans, and the Saxon York; and 
Caer-Lundene or Caerludd, London, &c. In course of 
time the vowel e was elided, hence we have such examples 
as Carmarthen, Cardiff, Carlisle, Carsey, Carsop, 
Pencarrow (Pencaerau), Carew, &c. 

Carn, Carnedd, or Cairn, means a heap of stones. 
These cairns or tumuli are found in large numbers in 
Wales. They were, according to some, either family 


cemeteries or monuments raised to commemorate the 
relics of a number of heroes who fell in defence of their 
•country. But others are inclined to think they were 
thrown, as tokens of disgrace, over executed malefactors. 
Dr. Owen Pugh says — " The carneddau and the tumuli 
of earth were the common monuments that the ancient 
Britons erected in honour of their great men. Which 
of the two kinds was probably determined by the 
circumstance of the country being stony or otherwise. 
These modes of interment continued in use many years 
after the introduction of Christianity; but when the 
custom of burying in churches became general, the 
former ways were not only disused, but condemned as 
fit only for the great criminals. When the carnedd was 
considered as the honourable tomb of a warrior, every 
passenger threw his additional stone out of reverence 
to his memory. When this heap came to be disgraced 
by being the mark where the guilty was laid, the custom 
for everyone that passed to fling his stone still continued, 
but nowise as a token of detestation." 

Professor Rhys, in his " Celtic Britain," gives a 
graphic description of the removal of one of these 
cairns in the Vicinity of Mold, in 1832. " It was 
believed," he writes, " in the country around to be 
baunted by a spectre in gold armour, and when more 
than 300 loads of stones had been carted away the 
-workman came to the skeleton of a tall and powerful 
man placed at full length. He had been laid there 
clad in a finely-wrought corslet of gold, with a lining of 


bronze : the former was found to be a thin plate of the 
precious metal, measuring three feet seven inches long" 
by eight inches wide. Near at hand were discovered 
300 amber beads and traces of something made of iron, 
together with an urn full of ashes, and standing about 
three yards from the skeleton. The work on the corslet 
is believed to have been foreign, and is termed Etruscan 
by Prof. Boyd Dawkins. The burial belongs to an age 
when cremation was not entirely obsolete in this 
country, and we should probably not be wrong in 
attributing it to the time of the Roman occupation. 
On the whole, the duty of commemorating the dead 
among the Celts may be supposed to have devolved on 
the bards, to whom we are probably indebted for the 
seventy or more triplets devoted to this object and pre- 
served in a Welsh manuscript of the twelfth century. 
The last of them, which, remarkably enough, has to do 
with a grave in this same district of Mold, runs as 
follows, when freely rendered into English :— 

Whose is the grave in the great glade ? 
Proud was his hand on his blade — 
There Bali the giant is laid." 

Castell, frequently contracted into cas, is the 
Welsh for a castle, a fortified residence. 

The Latin ' castellum ' a diminutive of castrum 
meaning a bastion tower or small fortification, was 
adopted by the Welsh in the form of castell. The word 
was originally applied to a smaller type of stronghold than 
the primitive ' caer ' or ' din,' and more especially to 


■denote the fortified residence of the tribal chieftains, 
who aspired to be the pohtical successors of the Romans 
in this country. Compare the Breton Kastel, the Irish 
caisel, the Gaelic caisteal, and the Manx cashtal. 

It is difficult to ascertain the exact time when 
castles were first introduced into Wales. 

The Romans probably began to erect fortresses in 
the territories conquered by them, and the Saxons 
followed their example; but strong castles of defence 
were comparatively few here ere the commencement of 
the Norman Conquest. Feudalism gave rise to castles 
in the sense of fortified residences, and it is from the 
advent of the Normans to our land we must date the 
castle as an institution. A large number was also 
erected during the reign of Edward III. and his 
immediate successors. " That old fortress," said Mr. 
Gladstone, pointing with his stick to the remains of 
Hawarden Castle, " is one of the emblems of the diffi- 
culty the English had in governing the Welsh in former 
times. They had to plant their strongholds all along 
the Welsh border." 

Cefn, in names of places, means a high ridge. It 
is but natural that this prefix should be applied to so 
many places in mountainous Wales. The Chevin'^Hills 
in Yorkshire, and Cevennes in France, derive^ their 
names from the same root. 


CiL implies a sequestered place, a place of retreat. 
Cil haul means the shade or where the sun does not 
shine. Cil y llygad, the corner of the eye. In Ireland it 
is spelt kil (the c being changed to k) signifying a 
church, and is found in no less than 1,400 names, and 
in many in Scotland. Kilkenny, church of Kenny; 
KUpatrick, church of Patrick; Kilmore {Cilmawr), the 
great church. Gilmour is still a surname in the Scottish 
lowlands, and we find Gilmorton in Leicester. We 
find the root in cilio, to retreat, to go away. Cilfach, a 
place to retreat to, a creek, a nook. Some Welsh 
historians think that cil is a local memorial of those 
Irish missionaries, who, about the 5th century, visited 
the shores of Wales for evangelistic purposes, and 
founded churches in the most quiet and sequestered 
spots they could find. 

Clyd means sheltering, warm, comfortable. Lie 

clyd, a warm, comfortable place. We have it in 

different forms in Clydach, Clydlyn, Clyder, Clyde, 
Strathclud, Clodock. 

Clyn signifies a place covered with brakes, Clyn o 
eithin, a furze brake. 

Cnwc literally means a bump, a swelling : Cnwc y 
gwegil, the back part of the skull; but its geographical 
signification is a knoll or mound. We find it corrupted 
in a few Welsh names, Knucklas (Cnwc-glas), &c., and 
in Irish names, Knockglass {Cnwc-glas), Knockmoy 


(Cnwc-mai), Knockaderry (Cnwc-y-deri), &c., and in 
England we have Nocton, Knockin, Knook, &c. 

Coed is the Welsh for wood, trees. In remote 
times the summits of Cambria's hills were covered with 
wood, which accounts for the word coed being still 
applied to barren and hUly districts. 

Craig, a high rock or craig, and sometimes it is 
applied to a steep, woody eminence. It takes the form 
of carraig or carrick in Ireland; Carrigafoyle (Craigy- 
foel), the barren rock; Carrickfergus, the rock where 
Fergus was drowned; and in England we find it in 
Crick, Cricklade, &c. 

Croes means a cross. Croes-ffordd, a cross-way. 
The word evidently points to the Roman epoch, and 
also to the ancient Welsh custom of burying malefactors 
near the cross roads. Croes-feini, stone-crosses, in the 
time of Howell the Good, were used principally to 
mark land property, and sometimes, when placed in 
hedges, to caution travellers not to cross the fields. 
Some of them, with the names of the primitive British 
saints inscribed upon them, were placed by the road- 
side in commemoration of the blessed fact that the 
Gospel had been preached there. 

Crug means a heap, a mound. Crug o gerryg, a 
heap of stones. It appears that the Britons held their 
bardic and judicial gorseddau or assemblies on these 
mounds, and hence " crug " and " gorsedd," according 
to Dr. Owen Pughe, are sometimes used as synonymous 


terms. " Crug " is a frequent component in Welsh 
names, and we find it Anglicized in Crich (Derby), 
Creach (Somerset), &c. 

CwM denotes a low place enclosed with hills. It 
has a large place in Welsh nomenclature, and it often 
occurs in English local names, especially in the western 
counties. In Devonshire the Saxonized form comb or 
combe meet us fsequently : Wide-comb, Wel-comb, 
Ilfra-combe, Babba-comb, Burles-comb, Challa-comb, 
Hac-comb, Para-comb, Yarns-comb, &c. In Somerset it 
is more plentiful than in any other English county : we 
have Nettle-comb, Od-comb, Timber-comb, Charlscomb, 
Wid-comb, Moncton-comb, Comb-hay, Cros-comb, 
Wins-combe, &c. We find King-combe, Rat-combe, 
Bos-comb, &c., in Dorset. Cumberland, a Celtic 
county, abounds with combes. So writes Anderson, a 
Cumberland poet, of his native county : — 

There's Cumwhitton, Cumwhinton. Cumranton, 
Cumrangan, Cumrew, and Cumoatoh, 

And many mair Cums i' the county. 
But none with Cumdivook can match. 

CwRT, probably from the Latin cortis, which means 
a closed place, or a court where the law is administered. 
In olden times when the king or a chieftain was on his 
military or sporting tour through the country, it was 
necessary to provide accommodation for him and his 
party during their stay in the district, and that place 
was designated " y Cwrt,' the Court. Those that lived 
in the villein townships were expected to build or provide 


the Court, " nine buildings which the villeins of the 
king are to erect for him, a hall, a chamber, a buttery, 
a stable, a doghouse, a barn, a kilyn, a privy, and a 

Cymmer means a junction or confluence, and is 
frequently applied to places situated near the junction 
of two or more rivers. The root is related to aber (vide 

Din is an ancient Welsh word for a fortified hill, a 
camp, from which we have our dinas, a fortified town or 
city, and probably the English denizen. Our cities were 
once surrounded by fortified walls, like Chester, on 
account of which every one of them was denominated 
dinas. Professor Rhys groups the Welsh din with the 
Irish dun, the Anglo-Saxon tun, and the English town. 
The dunum, dinum, and dinium of the Romans are 
probably allied with it. 

The English suffix hury is closely related to it in 
meaning. Very few Welsh place-names have the 
termination burgh, bury, or borough. The root is 
almost an English monopoly. Home Took says that 
" a burgh or borough formerly meant a fortified town." 
In the " Encyclopaedia Britannica " we find the follow- 
ing exposition of the word : — " Bourgignons or Burgun- 
dians, one of the nations who over-ran the Roman 
Empire, and settled in Gaul. They were of great 
stature and very warlike, for which reason the Emperor 
Valentinian the Great engaged them against the Ger- 
maus. They lived in tents, which were close to each 


other, that they might the more readily unite in arms 
on any unforeseen attack. These conjunctions of tents 
they called burghs, and they were to them what towns 
are to us." It is supposed that the Burgundians 
introduced the word to the Germans, and they, again, 
left it in England as a trace of their settlement here. 

DoL signifies a meadow. Dol-dir, meadow-land. 
We find it in many of our place-names, and also in 
various forms in Arundel, Kendal (Pen-ddol), Annan- 
dale, Dalkeith, Dalrymple, Dovedale, &c. The word is 
found in names of places situate in valleys all over 
Wales, Cornwall, and Brittany. 

DwFR is the modern Welsh for water. It is 
frequently spelt dwr : Cwmdwr, the water-vale. In 
English it has suffered much from phonetic decay : 
Derwent, Dover, Appledore, Durham, Dore, Thur. 
Durra, &c. It is also found in European names : 
Dordogne, Adour, Durbian, Durbach, Douron, Dwerna, 
Oder, &c. (" Words and Places," p. 200). It may be 
compared with the Cornish dour, the Gaelic and Irish 
dur, and dohhar, pronounced doar, and the Greek udor, 
all probably cognate with the Celtic dubr. 

Dyffryn is popularly derived from dwfr, water, and 
hynt, a way, a course; literally a water-course, or a vale 
through which a river takes its course. In the ancient 
Welsh laws the word dyffrynt is used to denote a river. 
" Ynysoedd yn nyffrynt," islands in a river. It may be 
a compound of dwfr-bryn, signifying a hilly place through 
which water flows. 


Gallt means an ascent, a slope. Gallt o goed, a 
woody slope or eminence. In North Wales it signifies- 
" a steep hill," and in South Wales " a coppice of 

Garth originally meant a buttress, an inclosure. 
The Norse garth, the Persian gird, and the Anglo-Saxon 
yard, denote a place girded round, or guarded. Garden 
is a place fenced round for special cultivation. Buarth, 
from bu, kine, and garth, a small inclosure, was situated 
on a hill in perilous times. Lluarth from llu, a legion, 
and garth, inclosure, means an entrenchment on a hiU. 
In course of time the word became to signify a ridge 
a hill, a rising eminence, a promontory. Compare the 
Breton U-orz, and the Irish lub-ghort, an enclosure for 

GELLI-Celli means a wood, a copse. The simpler 
form cell meant a grove, and the Irish coill bears an 
identical meaning. Cell ysgaw, an elder grove. The 
aborigines of Scotland were called Caeoill daoin, which 
meant " the people of the wood," which name was 
changed by the Romans to Caledonia. A great number 
of places have received their names from species of 
trees, as Clynog, Pantycelyn, Cljm eiddw, &c. 

Glan means brink, side, shore. Glan yr afon, the 
river side, or the bank of the river. Glan y mor, the sea 
shore. The word is generally prefixed to river-names, 
as Glan- Conwy, Glan Taf, &c. 


Glas is used to denote blue, azure, green. When 
applied to water it signifies blue — Dulas, black-blue ; but 
when applied to land it means green; Caeglas, green 
field. The word is supposed by some Cymric scholars 
to be allied to the Greek glaukos, both expressing the 
same colours — those of the sea. Glaucus was a sea- 
deity. G/as is also a derivatioir of C/at's a stream. 
Du + f/aM= Douglas. 

Glyn implies a vale narrower but deeper than a 
dyffryn, through which a river flows. It generally 
precedes the name of a river that flows through a vale, 
as Glyn Ceiriog, Glyn Dyfrdwy, &c. From the same 
root we have the Gaelic " gleann " and the Anglo-Saxon 
"" glen," both expressing a small valley. 

GwYDD signifies wood, from which we have gwyddel, 
which means a brake or bush. Tir gwyddelawg, land 
overrun with brambles. Gwyddel is also the Welsh for 
Irishman, and some view the few place-names that 
contain the word only as ethnological evidences of the 
temporary sojourn of the Gaels in Wales. Some, 
evidently, have the latter signification, but the majority 
of them have no reference to Irishmen, as Gwyddel- 
■wern, &c. 

Hafod is a compound of haf and bod, signifying a 
summer house. The ancient farmers had their summer 
•dairy-houses, and in that season they resorted thither, 
as the farmers in the Swiss Alps do to their Sennes. 
The hafod consisted of a long, low room, with a hole at 


one end to emit the smoke from the fire which was 
made beneath. Its stools were stones, and beds were 
made of hay ranged along the sides. 

Llan is identified with nearly all the names of 
parish churches in Wales, from which an exceedingly 
large number of places take their names. It has been 
said that " England is pre-eminently the land of hedges 
and inclosures." The terminations, ton, ham, worth, 
stoke, fold, garth, park, burgh, bury, brough, burrow, 
almost invariably convey the notion of inclosure and 
protection. The Welsh prefix Llan, which originally 
signified an inclosure, probably suggested the idea to the 
Saxon colonists. We find the word in perllan, orchard; 
gwinllan, vineyard; corlan, sheep-yard, in Welsh place- 
names it is now generally taken to mean a church, 
probably including the church-yard, though originally 
applied to an inclosure with or without a building. 
Myned i'r llan means " going to church." 

The British saints, having been deprived of their 
possessions by the powerful and ever-increasing 
foreigners and invaders, retired to the most solitary 
places in the country to live a wholly religious 
life, and founded churches which will bear their 
names as long as hagiology remains a part of 
Welsh history. Judging from the ntimber of churches 
dedicated to the saints, it appears that the most popular 
among them were St. Mary, St. Michael, and St. David 
the patron saint of Wales. It is needless to say that the 
first two never founded churches, although we find that 


28 churches* in the see of Bangor; 27 in the see of St. 
Asaph; 59 in the see of St. David's; and a few in the 
see of Llandaff; in all about 150 churches and chapels 
have been dedicated to St. Mary, and to St. Michael : 
48 in the see of St. David's; 8 in the see of St. Asaph; 
16 in the see of Bangor; 20 in the see of Llandaff; and 
a few in the see of Hereford, making a total of nearly 
100. Next comes St. David. We find that 42 so-called 
sacred edifices bear his name in the see of St. David's; 
8 in the see of Llandaff; and a few in the see of Hereford; 
such as Dewstow. 

Many churches were ilso named from their- 
contiguity to- water, as well as to other objects : Llan- 
wrtyd (Llan wrth-y-rhyd), the church by the ford; 
Llandaf, the church on the Taff, &c. The llan, a public 
house, and a few cottages, formed the nucleus of the 
majority of our rural villages and parishes, and when the 
village or parish became worthy of an appellation, the 
name of the llan was almost invariably applied to them. 
The word sant, saint, never became a popular term in 
Wales as it did in Cornwall. We have simply the 
llan and the unadorned name of the saint who founded 
it, or was dedicated, . not Llansantddewi, St. David's 
church, but Llanddewi, David's church. 

When several churches are dedicated to the same 
saint some differential words are added, and so we have 
those long names which arouse the curiosity of our 
English friends, and often supply a healthy exercise 

(* Probably more now). 


to their risible faculties, such as Llanfair-Mathafarn- 
eithaf, &c. 

For the sake of euphony and brevity we have, in 
many of our English equivalents, omitted the word llan, 
and have given the names of the saints only, except 
when they are translatable. When differential words 
are added to the hagiological names, as Penybryn, 
Helygen, &c., we have thought it advisable to omit 
the ecclesiastical term, and give the mundane portion of 
the name only as an English quasi-equivalent. For 
instance, Llandewi-Aberarth, omitting St. David's, and 
render Aberarth into an intelligible English name. We 
tind the word llan in many place-names in England, in 
the Cymric part of Scotland, i.e. between the Clyde 
and the Solway, e.g. Lanark, Lanrick, &c., and in 
Brittany, as Langeac, Lannion, Lanoe, &c. The word 
^glwys, church, is now used for a modern ecclesiastical 
building in most parts of the Principality. 

Llech, a flat stone, a flag, refers probably to the 
Druidical circle stones. Notice should be made of the 
difference between Cromlech and Cistfaen. The former 
was a sepulchral monument and always above ground, 
and the latter was the coffin, concealed by a tumulus 
either of earth or of stones. The cromlech generally 
had a cistfaen under it. The English league is probably 
derived from this word, a " league " was a measure of 
distance marked by a stone standing on end. 

Llwch is the ancient Welsh for an inlet of water, 
.a lake, c./., Maesllwch, nr. Three Cocks Station. It 


corresponds to the Scotch loch, the Irish lough, and 
the EngUsh lake. Loch Leven — smooth lake. 

Llwyn in its primary sense means a bush, but it is 
frequently used to denote a grove. 

Llys originally meant a royal court, a palace. 
Llysdin, a city where a prince's court was kept, but it 
is now the common appellation for a court. 

Maenor originally meant a division of land marked 
by stones, from maen, a stone; hence it became to 
signify a district, a manor. The maen-hir, long-stone 
monument, is considered by Professor Rhys to be as 
old as the cromlech, but not so imposing and costly. 
Croes-faen. (See Croes). 

Maes, an open field, in contradistinction to cae, an 
enclosed field. It is sometimes used as a military term 
signifying a battle-field. Cad ar faes is a pitched battle, 
and colli y maes is to lose the battle. In the majority of 
names where this component occurs we may fairly infer 
that a battle has been fought there. 

Mai means an open, beautiful plain. It is also the 
Welsh for May, the month when nature induces one to 
go out to the open fields to view her gems of beauty. 

MoEL when used as a substantive signifies a bald, 
conical hill. Dyn penfoel, a bald-headed man. In olden 
times it was used as a surname. HjAvel Foel, Howell,, 
the bald-headed. It is derived by some from the Celtic 
root mull, a bald head. Moylisker (Westmoreland) is a 


corrupted form of Moel-esgair, bare ridge. Malvern is 
supposed to be a contraction of Moel-y-fam, the hill of 
judgment. In Ireland we find it corrupted to moyle : 
Kilmoyle, bald church; Dinmoyle, bald fort. 

Mynydd is the popular Welsh word for mountain, 
from mwn, what rises considerably above the surface of 
the surrounding land. Myn'd i fynydd or fyny means 
going upwards. In Shropshire this word appears in 
Longmjmd; in Gloucestershire, nr. Mitcheldean, as the 

Nant in its primary sense signified a ravine, a 
dingle ; but now it is mostly used in South Wales to 
denote a brook, a streamlet. The root enters largely 
into Welsh nomenclature, and it is also found in many 
place-names in the region of the High Alps. Nannau 
and Nanney are plural forms of it, omitting t, and 
adding the plural termination au. 

Pant means a low place, a hollow. It is con- 
siderably less than a cwm or dyffryn, combe or valley, 
being somewhat similar to a glen. 

Parc, from the Norman-French, is an inclosure, 
equivalent to cae, a piece of land enclosed with hedges. 
It is used in the latter sense in the south-west counties. 
Parth comes from the same root, which means a division 
of land. Parthau Cymru, the divisions of Wales. The 
English " park " is a derivative, which has a more 
extensive meaning. 


Pen in geographical names means the highest 
part or the extreme end, as of a mountain or a field, or 
a meadow. We find it intact in names of places in 
Cornwall, as Penzance, Penrhyn (headland), and in 
the north of England we have Penrith ; but in its native 
country the consonant n has been omitted in many 
instances, and m substituted, as in Pembroke, Pembrey, 
&c. Ben, a mountain, enters largely into the com- 
position of place-names in Scotland, especially in the 
Highlands, as Ben-more, (Penmawr), great mountain, &c. 
Cen or cenn is another Gaelic form, signifying the same 
as pen and ben. Can tyre (Pentir), headland; Kenmore 
(Penmawr), great mountain; Kinloch (Penllwch), head 
of the lake. In South Scotland hen is replaced by pen, 
the Cymric form, as Pencraig, the top of the rock; 
Penpont, the end of the bridge, &c. We find it also 
in European names pointing out the earlier settlements 
of the Celtic race, as Pennine, Apennines, Penne, 
Penmark, &c. 

Pont is generally derived from the Latin pontem, 
{ace.) a bridge. The monks were great bridge-builders, and 
it is supposed that they introduced the word to us. 
Pontage is a duty paid for repairing bridges. The 
Roman pontiff was so called because the first bridge 
over the Tiber was constructed and consecrated by the 
high priest. Pontefract is a pure Latin name, from 
pons, a bridge, and frangere, to break, signifying a broken 
bridge, so called from the bridge breaking down when 
William, Archbishop of York, was passing over. 


PoRTH is referred by some to the Latin -porta, a 
passage-way, a gate, an opening. 

Rhiw is the Welsh for ascent, accHvity, slope. It 
has an analogous meaning to Eppynt, the name of a 
chain of mountains in Breconshire, probably from eh, 
an issuing out, and hynt, a way, a course, signifjdng a 
way rising abruptly. Hyntio means to set off abruptly. 

Rhos means a moor. Some think the Latin rus is 
a cognate word, signifying undrained moorland. The 
Cymric rhos is of the same origin as the Gaelic ros, 
which signifies a promontory. Ross, the name of a 
town in Herefordshire, is probably a corruption of the 

Rhyd in its primary sense means a ford, but its 
secondary meaning — a stream, is frequently given to it. 
Rhyd-erwin means the rough, dangerous ford, whereas 
Rhydfelin designates a stream of water that turns a mill. 

Sant : The title sant was very sparingly used in 
Mediaeval Welsh, and then mostly in the case of saints 
other than Welsh. Some historians maintain that 
churches were dedicated to Welsh and Irish saints from 
500 to 800, to St. Michael and some of the Apostles 
from 800 to -1000, and to St. Mary and others in the 
12th century. 

The earliest use of the word Mabsant, the typical 
holy man of the parish, appears to be in a eulogy of the 
Welsh patron saint (" Canu y Dewi "), by Gwynfardd 
Bryc heiniog ( 11 60- 1 220) . 


Every parish had its patron saint. The various 
trades and guilds also had their patron saints or 

There are between 600 and 700 saints genuine and 
otherwise, known to Welsh Hagiology, and only about 
200 of these have found a place in the calendars. 

Peter, Paul, and Laurentius were made patrons of 
Rome, James, the patron of Spain, Andrew of Greece, 
and David, the patron saint of Wales. 

Sarn is the Welsh for the old Roman paved road, 
and wherever it occurs one may almost certainly find 
traces of a Roman road. Unlike almost every other 
road the Roman strata was distinguished for its 
straightness. It ran from fortress to fortress, as 
straight as an arrow course, in order to facilitate 
communications between those who were stationed in 
the chief strategic positions of Britain. It was generally 
about 15 feet wide, the sides being fenced by hugg 
stones, and the middle well paved. Remains of it are 
still discernible in many parts of the Principality, such 
as the neighbourhood of Caersws, Montgomery; Gaer, 
Brecon; Neath, Glamorgan; and many other places. 

Tal when applied to places means end, but when 
applied to persons it denotes front. Taliesin means 
radiant front or luminous head, but Talyhont signifies 
the end of the bridge. 

Ton originally meant a piece of unploughed or 
uncultivated land, perhaps from twn, which implies a 


piece of land taken for the purpose of cultivation. It 
is used in Glamorgan to denote a green sward. 

Tref was the primitive Welsh appellative for a 
homestead, a dwelling-house. Myned tua thref, going 
home, is still a common expression in South Wales. In 
course of time the term was extended to indicate a 
group of homesteads. Having buUt a house for himself 
the lord would proceed to build dwellings for his people 
and his cattle, and these formed what was called tref. 
The word gradually became to be applied to an 
aggregate of houses, hence the reason why it is used so 
frequently in village as well as in town-names. 

The root is widely distributed over Britain and 
Europe. The Norse hy, the Danish thorpe, the German 
dorf, and the English ham and ton may be considered as 
its equivalents. It is spelt treu in Domesday Book, 
hence we have Treuddyn for Treddyn. 

Hendref forms the names of many old mansions, 
and is sjntionjmious with the English Aldham and 
Oldham. Hyd y dref (October), was the harvest season — 
the time to gather the produce of the fields to the 
barns, and leave the hafod, summer-house, to spend the 
winter months in the hendref, the older establishment. 
The original meaning of cantref (canton or hundred) is 
supposed to have been a hundred homesteads. 

Troed is the Welsh for foot, base. The Irish traig 
signifies the same, both of which. Professor Rhys thinks, 


are of the same origin as the Greek trecho, " I run."- The 
English tread means to set the foot. The word is fre- 
quently applied to places situated at the foot of a moun^ 
fain. The Welsh Troedyrhiw and the Italian pie di 
monte are S5monymous terms. 

Ty generally means a house, a dwelling-place, but 
in Welsh nomenclature it is occasionally used to denote 
a church or place of worship, as Ty Ddewi, St. David's. 
The house of God is considered by many as equivalent 
to the church of God. Ty has an inferior meaning to 
bod ; the latter was the residence of a superior, and the 
former is of a later date, signifying an ordinary house, a 

Wy — Gwy is an obsolete Celtic word for water, 
mostly used as a suf&x in river-names, as Elwy, Tawy ; 
and sometimes as a prefix, as gwyach, a water-fowl; 
gwylan, sea-gull; gwydd, goose. Gwysg is related to it, 
which means a tendency to a level, as of a fluid or 
stream. We find the root in various forms, as Wysg, 
cask, uisge, usk, esk, is-ca, &c. 

Ynys anciently signified an island, and also a 
quasi- island answering to inch in Scotland, Inch Keith; 
and inis or ennis is Ireland, Ennis Killen, Ennis Corthy, 
Inniskea, &c. The word is applied to some places with 
no river or water near them, nor anything suggesting 
the probability that they had, in remote times, been 


YsTRAD is a general term for a low or flat valley 
through which a river flows. The Latin strata, the 
Scotch strath, and the English street are supposed to be 
of the same origin. The term ystrad was used sometimes 
to denote a paved road. 


Wales. — The real and correct name is Cymru, or 
as the late Mr. T. Stephens invariably spelt it, Kymru, 
from cym-hro, the compatriot, the native of the country, 
in contradistinction to ail-fro, the foreign invader who 
came to dispossess him of his native land. 

Professor Silvan Evans derives it from cy^, the d 
being changed to m for assimilation with the following 
h ; and bro, a vale, a country. Some think it is a 
compound of cyn, first, prior ; and hru, matrix, hence 
implying Primitive Mother, an expression signifying that 
the aboriginal Brythons, to sustain their inalienable 
claim to the country, considered themselves as 
descended from the direct offspring of their native soil. 
According to some the name is synonj^mous with the 
Cimmerii and Gomari. 

A few derive the name from Camber, the son of 
Brutus, whilst others insist upon a remoter origin, and 
trace it back to Gomer, the eldest son of Japhet._ In 
the laws of Hywel Dda the name is spelt Cybru, and in 
G. ap Arthur's Chronicle the names Kymry and Kymraec 
are respectively given to the nation and the language. 

Mr. Stephens derives Kymry from Homer's Kim- 
meroi and Germania's Cimbri. These people gave 


their name to Cumberland, and subsequently they 
settled in their present country, and called themselves 
and the country Kym/y or [Cymry, the form Cymru for 
Wales being a modern variant. 

Professor Rhys thinks the ties of union between 
the Brythons of Upper Britain proved so strong and 
close that the word Cymry, which meant merely 
fellow-countrymen, acquired the force and charm of a 
national name, which it still retains among the natives 
of the Principality. It is also popularly called — 

GWALIA, of which Wales is a Saxonized form. 
Very many favour the German derivation wal, foreign; 
waller, foreigner. The general name given by the 
Teutonic races to their neighbours is Walsch, foreigners 
or strangers. " The word Dutch is an adjective 
signif jang national, and was the name by which the old 
Teutons called themselves in contradistinction to other 
people, whose language they were unable to under- 
stand. They styled themselves the (intelligible) 
people, but called others, as the Romans, and the Kelts 
in Britain, Walsch and Welsh." (Morris' Hist. Gram.). 

Walsch-land is the German name of Italy, and 
Weal-land is the name given by the Saxon Chronicle to 
Brittany. Comwales was the original form of Cornwall, 
which signifies the country inhabited by the Welsh of 
the Horn. Some derive the name from Gal, the ancient 
Gal, whilst others give the preference to gal, an open, 
cultivated country. " Le Prince de Galles " is the name: 


given to the Prince of Wales in France. The people 
of Galatia in the time of St. Paul possessed some 
characteristic features of the Celtic race. Jacob 
Grimm traces the name back to Galli (Gaules, Fr.), 
which was taken by the Germans from the neighbouring 
Gauls. It is generally supposed that when the Saxons 
settled among the Britannic Loegrians (the Cymry of 
England) they called them Veales, Weala, or Wealhas, 
from which the name Wales probably originated. 

Cambria. — Some derive it from Camber of fabulous 
record, but we rather think it is a distorted Latinized 
form of Cymru. 

We shall now proceed to deal with the names of 
the ancient territories of Wales, namely, Gwynedd, 
Powys, Dyfed, and Gwent. 

Gwynedd, or Venedocia. — ^This territory com- 
prised the counties of Anglesey, Carnarfon, and Denbigh, 
or Gwynedd is .Gonwy, Venedocia below Conway, and 
Gwynedd uch Gonwy, Venedocia above Conway. It was 
sometimes applied to all North Wales. 

Professor Rhys thinks " the word Veneti is most 
likely of the same origin as the Anglo-Saxon wine, a 
friend, and meant allies; the Irish fine, a tribe or 
sept, is most likely related, and so may be the Welsh 
Gwynedd. The Veneti have left their name to the part 
of Brittany called by the Bretons Guened, Vannes, and 
it is this name probably that laid the foundation for 
the tales which trace an army of ,Cymry from Gwynedd 
to Guened." (Celtic Britain, p. 307.) 


PowYS. — This included the counties of Merioneth; 
FHnt, and Montgomery. The word, according to 
some, means a state of rest. Pwyso means to lean; 
gorpkwyso, to rest. It is said that Ceridwen placed 
Gwion, the son of Gwreang, the herald of Llanfair, the 
fane of the lady, in Caer Einiawn, the city of the just in 
Powys, the land of rest. (Davies' Myth., p. 213.) 
Powys Fadog may mean Madoc's settlement or rest. 

Dyfed, or Demetia. — ^This province embraced the 
counties of Pembroke, Carmarthen, and Cardigan; the 
former constituted the principal part, and is called 
Dyfed even to-day by the old inhabitants. In the seventh 
century Dyfed consisted only of Pembrokeshire. Some 
derive the name from Deheuharth, which is rather far- 
fetched. We are induced to think the root is dwfn, 
deep or low, indicating the geographical position of 
Dyfed, which is the lowest part of the Principality. 
Devon is probably of the same origin. Demetia is 
Dyfed Latinized. 

GwENT. — This territory comprises part of 
Glamorgan, also Monmouthshire, and part of Hereford- 
shire, the latter districts are to be dealt with in a sub- 
sequent work. 


Anglesey. — The Welsh name is Ynys Mon or Ynys 
Fon, the Isle of Mona. Mon is variously derived. 
Philotechnus derives it from the Greek monos, alone, left 
alone, standing alone, from its being separated by sea 
from the counties of North Wales. Dr. Owen Pughe 
seems to endorse the above : " Mon, what is isolated, an 
isolated one, or that is separate." The author of Mona 
Antiqua derives it from bon, a stem, a base, a foundation, 
same as Monau, Enotodin, from its situation at the 
extreme point of the Principality, or, perhaps, from its 
being called " Mon, mam Cymru," Mona, the mother of 
Wales. The Manau Guotodin of South Scotland illustrates 
another application of the word Mon. 

We are induced to think that the Isle of Mona 
and the Isle of Man derive their names from mon, which 
means what is isolated, separate. The English name was 
bestowed upon it after the battle of Llanvaes, in which 
Egbert proved himself victor over Merddyn. In 818 
or 819 the Saxon king subdued Mona, and called it 
Anglese3^ or the Isle of the Angles, or English. The 
terminal syllable, ey, is the Norse for island. It as- 
sumed the title of "Mon, mam Cymru," in the 12th 
century. Another view but perhaps less probable is 
Norse Angul's ey, the isle of the strait. 

Aberffraw. — This Seaport village is situate at the 
mouth of the river Ffraw. Aber, estuary; ffraw means 
agitation, activity, swiftness. Effraw, awake, vigilant. 


The Romans called it Gadavia ; gada, to fall or run 
down ; via, way, signifying the swift or running water. 
This place was one of the 3 Royal residences of Wales, 
and a seat of their chief courts of justice. 

Amlwch. — This name has elicited various con- 
jectures. Some think it is a compound of aml-llwch, 
signifying a dusty place. Others derive it thus : am, 
round, about; llwch, a lake, an inlet of water, signifying 
a circular inlet of water. Llwch is cognate with the 
Scotch loch. Many places in Wales take their names 
from this word, as Penllwch, Talyllychau, Llanllwch, and^ 
perhaps, Amlwch. In an ancient book, " The Record of 
Carnarvon," supposed to be written about 1451, the 
name is spelt Amlogh. The harbour at Amlwch is a 
sort of llwch. 

Beaumaris.- — Various names are given to this town 
— Bumaris, Bimaris, Beumarish, Bello-Mariseum, and 
Beaumaris. In the Myvyrian list of the parishes of 
Wales it is spelt Bywmares. Edmunds derives it from 
buw, a cow; mor, the sea; and is, low; signifying the 
low place of cows by the sea. Some think the name is 
a compounded form of his, twice; and maris, the sea, 
founding their reason upon the position of the town as 
lying between two seas, the Irish Sea and St. George's 
Channel. Others think the radices are heau, beautiful, 
fine, and maree, sea; signifying a place near the beautiful 
■sea. Many will have the suffix to be the French marais, 
marsh, a tract of low land occasionally covered with 
-water, hence the name signifies the beautiful marsh. 

ANGLESEY. " , " 47 

The town was anciently called Forth Wygyr; forth, 
port ; wygyr, which may be a corruption of Wig-ir; gwig, 
an opening in the wood, a wood ; ir, fresh, florid. Pren ir 
a green tree. The new name, Beaumaris, it is said, was 
given to the town by Edward I. He built the castle 
about the year 1285, and changed the name of the place 
to Beaumaris, descriptive of its pleasant situation in 
low ground. 

Belan. — An abbreviation of Llanbeulan, the church 
dedicated to Beulan, son of Paulinus. 

Bethel. — So called after a Nonconformist chapel 
in the village. The edifices of the Established Church 
are generally dedicated to eminent Welsh saints; but 
the Nonconformist sanctuaries are generally denominated 
after Scriptural place-names. 

Bodedern. — Bod, a dweUing-place, an abode; 
Edern, or Edeyrn, the son of Nudd, the son of Beli. 
He was a warrior and a poet, and before the end of 
his earthly career became very devoted to religion, 
and built a church in this place, which was dedicated 
to him, hence the name. 

Bode WR YD. — This place is situated about four 
miles west of Amlwch. Bod, a dwelling; ewryd, a 
contraction, perhaps, of ewiar, smooth, clear, and rhyd, 
a ford; the name, therefore, signifies a mansion at the 
clear ford. 


BODFFORDD. — Bod, a dwelling; ffordd, a way, a 
road; the name, therefore, signifies a residence by the 
way or road. 

BoDOWYR. — The habitation of the priests. A 
hamlet situated near Tre'r Dryw, the seat of the 
chief Druid. 

BODWROG. — Bod, a dwelling; Twrog, supposed to 
be the son of lihel Wael, of Brittany, to whom the 
church is dedicated. The name signifies a fortified 

Brynsiencyn. — Bryn, a hill; Siencyn, a Welshified 
form of Jenkin, which means little and pretty John. 

Caerceiliog.— From a farm so named. Some 
think the right wording is Caergeilyg — Caer, a fortified 
wall ; Geilyg, clear, prominent : others think the name 
is a slight corruption of Cae'r ceiliog, the cock's field, 
from the tradition that a certain field belonging to the 
farmstead was sometime noted for cockfighting. 

Capel Gwyn. — Capel, chapel; Gwyn, a contracted 
form, probably, of Gwyngenau, the son of Pawl, the elder; 
or, perhaps, gwyn here has an ecclesiastical meaning, 
signifying blessed. " Gwyn ei fyd y gwr," blessed is 
the man. 

Capel Meugan. — Capel, chapel; Meugan, son of 
Gwyndaf Hen, the son of Emyr Llydaw. Meugan is an 
old personal name which may have come through the 
Irish, c.f. Fegan. 


Ceirchiog. — This name means " abounding with 
oats." The soil of the district is remarkable for yielding 
large crops of oats. "^ 

Cemaes. — ^This name is very common in Wales. 
It is a compound word, made up of cefn, back ridge ; 
and maes, a field, signif3dng a high field. Some think 
the name denotes ridged or arable land, from the fer- 
tility of the soil in the district. Others think it a 
compounded form of camp, a feat, a game ; and maes, a 
field. The Welsh had 24 games, or qualifications, that 
may be called their course of education. We rather think 
the word must be understood here in a martial sense, 
signifying a field on a high place, forming a vantage-ground 
for military operations. The name indicates signs of the 
defensive conflict of the KjTiiry from the time of Cadwaladr 
down to the fall of Llewelyn, with whom the independence 
of Cambria terminated. 

Cerryg Ceinwen. — Cerryg stones ; Ceinwen, the 
daughter of Brychan Brycheiniog, to whom the church 
is dedicated. 

Cerryg y Gwyddyl. — Cerryg, stones ; Gwyddyl, 
Irishmen. Caswallon Law-Hir (Long Hand), about 
the year 500, fought vaiiantV against the Irish invaders 
in North Wales. Having achieved such a 
noble victory at a certain place in Mona, he built a 
church thereon, and called it Llan y Gwyddyl, but now 
it is known by the name of Cerryg y Gwyddyl. 

Clegyrog.— The root, probably, is clegr, which 
means a rock, a cliff. Clegyrog, rocky, rugged ; the 
name is quite descriptive of this craggy district. 



CoEDANA. — Coed, wood ; Ana Anne, supposed to be 
a Welsh lady to. whom the parish church is dedicated. 
Anne or Ann is a contraction of Hannah. 

DwYRAN. — Dwy, two ; ran, part or "portion. This 
hamlet was divided into two by Idwal, the Prince of Wales, 
and he gave one to St. Beuno, and the other to the Bishop 
of Bangor, hence the names Dwyran Beuno, and Dwyran 
Esgob. The place is also called Aberbraint. 

Gaerwen. — A compound of caer, a fortified wall, a 
fortress ; and wen, the feminine form of gwyn, white, 
fair, blessed, what is desirable or affords happiness. 

GwREDOG. — ^The root may be gwar (gwareddawg), 
tame, mild, gentle ; some think the correct wording is 
Gwaredog, what is being protected or saved. Perhaps it 
is derived from gwaered, a declivity. We adopt the 
latter. The right wording, therefore, is Gwaeredog, a 
flat or bottom at the foot of high ground. It is the 
name of several farms in Anglesey ; as Gwaeredog, Amlwch, 
and Gwaeredog Uchaf, and Gwaeredog Isaf, near Llan- 

GwYNDY. — Gwyn, white, blessed ; iiy = iy, house ; the 
name signifies a blessed house. The name was once 
used to denote an episcopal residence. In the time of 
St. Germanus, gwyndai — episcopal residences or houses 
were first alloted to the bishops. It was supposed 
that a cloister was once in the place where a large 
number of virgins devoted themselves entirely to holy 

Holyhead. — ^The Welsh name is Caergybi or accord- 
ing to some. Cor Cyhi. Cyhi, the son of the King of 
Cornwall, flourished about the latter half of the fourth 


■century. Having spent some time with Bishop Hilary, 
in Gaul, he returned and took up his abode here. It is 
said that the Prince of Mona took compassion upon 
him in his great poverty, and presented him with a 
castle in the place, wherein he established a small 
monastery, from which circumstance the castle was 
called Cor Cybi — Cybi's Choir. Pennant thinks the 
right wording is Caergybi, from the afore-mentioned 
■castle, ruins of which are discernible now. The saint 
also is memorable for his connection with the Roman 
pharos or lighthouse on a hill adjacent to the town. At 
the north end of the parish church the following 
inscription may be seen : — Sancte Kybi, ora pro nobis, i.e., 
" Oh! Saint Cybi, pray for us." Opinions difEer as to 
the origin of Holyhead. Some think it was so named 
from the large number of sacred edifices in the place. 
Others think the English gave the" appellation "Holy- 
head " to the place on account of the holy and sanctified 
life of the ever memorable Saint Kybi. Others maintain 
that the right wording is Hollyhead — a translation of 
Pencelyn, or more correctly, Pen Cyhelyn, Cyhdyn's Head. 
Pen means head ; and Cyhelyn was reduced to Celyn, 
which signifies holly-wood, hence Hollyhead, and then 

Llanallgo. — ^The church was dedicated to Gallgo, 
a son of Caw Cawlyd, and built in the 7th century. In this 
neighbourhood the Royal Charter was lost, October 26th, 
1859, when upwards of 400 lives perished. In the 
parish there is also seen a large cromlech. 

Llanbabo. — Pabo Post Prydain was an eminent 
warrior, and ere the close of his life he devoted 
himself unreservedly to religious matters. He founded 


the church of Llanbaho, where still remains a stone on 
which his image and the following inscription may be 
seen : — " Hie jacet Paho Post Prud Corpors-te-Prima." 

Llanbadrig. — ^The lolo MSS. inform us that Padrig 
was a saint of the seventh century, a contemporarj' of 
Elford, and a fellow of Kybi's seminary. He built the 
above church, which still bears his name. This is St. 
Patrick, the great apostle of Ireland. (The name 
Patrick means a senator, a nobleman) . 

Llandegfan. — Some think the church was built 
by Tydecha and his sister Tegfedd, and that it was 
dedicated to the latter in the sixth century ; but we 
rather think that Tegfan, uncle of Elian, and a saint 
and confessor in Kybi's seminary, gave his name to it. 
(Williams' " Eminent Welshm.en.") Tegfan may mean a 
fair spot, or a fine place. 

Llandyssilio. — ^The church is dedicated to Tyssilio^ 
a celebrated saint of the sixth century. 

Llan Ddaniel Fab. — Mr. Rowlands writes : — 
" Daniel, who had a church near that of Llan Aiden, 
was son of Daniel, first Bishop of Bangor ; and there- 
fore, the church is commonly called Llan Ddaniel Fab."" 

Llanddeusant. — ^The church is dedicated to dau 
sant, two saints — Marcellus and Marcellinus. 

Llanddwyn. — ^The church is dedica.ted to St. Deuvven 
or Dwynwen daughter of Brychan, one of the primitive 
Christians of Britain. This parish was, in the reign of 
Henry VHI, one of the richest prebends in the cathedra! 
of Bangor. The common people were superstitious 
enough to make pilgrimages here to crosses, reliques, holy^ 
wells, ordeals, and fish divination. 


Llanddyfnan. — The church was dedicated to 
Dyfnan, son of Brychan, in the fifth century. He is 
recorded to have come here from Rome in . i8o to 
convert the Britons to the Christian faith. Dyfnan 
may signify a deep brook. 

Llandyfrydog. — Ty fry dog, the son of Arwystl 
Gloff, was a member of the Enlli seminary, and the 
founder of this church, which was dedicated to him 
in the sixth century. Dy fry dog means fuU of thought, 
musing, pensive. 

Llanedwen. — The church is supposed to have been 
built by Edwen, niece or daughter of King Edwin, 
and a Saxon saintess of the sixth or seventh century. 
Edwen is probably a feminine form of Edwin. 

Llaneilian. — Eilian Geimiad, the pilgrim son of 
Cellan Ruddawg, was a saint of a very early date. 
Some think he was a contemporary of St. Kybi. A few 
churches in Wales bear his name. Near this place 
■Caswallon Law Hir kept his court. 

Llanerchymedd. — ^This town was anciently called 
Clochran, clock, bell ; ran, part, portion. It is supposed 
that the steeple of the church stood on portions of- 
three, if not four parishes, hence the name. Various 
■conjectures are propounded on the origin of the present 
name. An impossible tradition says that a man named 
Tegerin was preparing a family grave on the spot where the 
old church stands, and, when he was building the vault, 
■someone asked him — " What do you raise on this 
spot?" His rejoinder was, " Llanerch fy .medd," the 
place of rhy sepulchre. Some derive the name from 
Tafarn y medd, a mead tavern. Medd, niead, a drink 


made of honey and water ; that ancient beverage was- 
probably prepared and consumed at the above tavern, 
hence the name. 

Llaneugrad. — ^The church was dedicated to 
Eugrad, son of Caw Cawlwyd, a fellow of Illtyd's 
seminary, and a saint of the sixth century. It is said that 
a very great battle was fought here in 873 between Rhodri 
Mawr and the Danes, and that the latter had to retreat. 

Llanfachreth. — The church was dedicated to St, 
Machraith, who flourished in the seventh century, and 
founded churches in Merioneth and Anglesey. 

Llanfaelog. — ^The church was dedicated about 
the seventh century to Maelog, son of Caw Cawlwyd. Hard 
by there is a lake called " Llyn Maelog," 
Maelog's pool. 

Llanfaes. — Maes, a field. The name denotes a 
church built on the spot where a memorable battle 
was fought in the year 819 between Egbert and the 
Welsh. The remains of the immortal John Elias Fon,. 
were interred here in June, 1841. 

Llanfaethlu. — ^The church was dedicated tO' 
Maethlu, son of Caradog Fuichfras, in the sixth century. 
Maethlu or Maethle means a nursing place. 

Llanfair-Mathafarn-Eithaf.- — ^The names of this 
and the adjoining parish must be compared here in 
order that they may throw light on each other. 
Llanbedr-goch, or Llanbedr-Mathafarn-Gwion-Goch, the 
contiguous parish is called Llanbedr, the church dedi- 
cated to St. Peter ; Mathafarn, the place (man) of a 
tavern ; Gwion Goch, the name of the owner. Now 
take the next. Llanfair, St. Mary's Church ; Mathafarn,. 


tavern ; eithaf, extreme, furthest ; the suffix eithaf was 
added to the latter tavern to distinguish it from the 

This parish is famous for being the birthplace of 
Goronwy Owen, one of the greatest poets of Wales. 
He was born here, January 7th, 1722. 

Llanfair-pwll-gwyngyll. — Llanfair, St. Mary's 
Church ; pwll, pool ; gwyn, white ; cyll, hazel wood. 
Ceris Pool, Menai Straits, is contiguous to this place, 
and the banks of the straits were sometime covered with 
white hazel wood. The full name is sometimes play- 
fully given as Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndro- 
bwlltysiliogogogogoch — z. rather pretty and inviting word 
to a Saxon tourist. The railway station is called Llanfair 

Llanfair- yn-Nghornwy. — Llanfair — a church dedi- 
cated to St. Mary ; yn, the ; corn-wy, land projecting out 
to the water, which is very descriptive of this part of the 

Llanfair-yn-Netjbwll. — Llanfair — St. Mary's 
church ; yn, in ; neubwll dau bwll, two pools, which 
are visible from the church. 

Llanfechell. — Mechell or Mechyll, the son of 
Echwydd, was a Welsh bishop, and the church was 
dedicated to him in the seventh century. He was buried 
in Penrhos Llugwy, and Mr. Rowlands (Mona Antiqua) 
says that an old stone was found there in the 
eighteenth century bearing his name. 

Llanfihangel Din Sylwy. —Llanflhangel, St. 
Michael's Church. Din Sylwy, according to some, is a 
contraction of Dinas Sylwi, the gazing city ; others 


trace it to Din Sol, the city of the sun. It is generally 
believed that an old British stronghold stood here, and 
was taken by the Romans during the subjugation of 
Mona. We offer the following derivation : Din, a hill ; 
syl-syUii, to gaze ; the name, therefore, signifies a 
church on a hill which commands a view of the river 
or water. 

Llanfihaxgel Tre'r Beirdd. — Llanfihangel, St. 
Michael's Church. Tre'r Beirdd, the bards' dwelling- 
place. It is supposed that a Druidic station and a 
bard's seminary existed here in remote times, from 
which circumstance the village and parish derive the 

Llangadwaladr. — ^The Church is said to have been 
founded by Cadwaladr, last king of the Britons, and made 
one of the sanctuaries of Mona. 

Llaxgefxi. — ^The name signifies a church on the 
river Cefni, which runs through the place. 

Llaxgoed. — ^The name signifies a church in the 
wood, so called from the woody nature of the neighbour- 
hood. The church was dedicated to Cawrdaf in the 
sixth century, and the parish is sometimes called Llan- 

Llaxgristiolus. — Cristiolus, a descendant of Einyr 
Llydaw, flourished in the seventh century, and built the 
church which commemorated his name. 

Llaxiestyn.— The titular saint of this church was 
St. lestyn, son of Geraint, one of Arthur's knights. 

Llanrhyddlad.— J?A;/rf(iZa(^, a daughter of the King 
of Leinster, Ireland, was a saintess of the seventh century, 
and the supposed founder of the above church. One 


author thinks the right wording is Rhyddlad ; rhydd, at 
liberty, free ; lad=gwlad, country. Perhaps the prefix 
is rhudd, red ; the name, therefore, means red soil or 

Llantrisant. — ^The church is dedicated to tri sant, 
three saints : Afren, leuan, and Savan, who, it is sup- 
posed, founded it in the year 570. 

A monument is seen here in memory of Rev. Hugh 
Williams, D.D., father of Sir Wm. Williams, speaker of the 
House of Commons and Solicitor General in i687- 

Llechylched. — Some think the church is dedi- 
cated to Ilched or Ylched. The name is, probably, a 
compound of llech, a flat stone ; and cylched, a circum- 
ference, that which goes about or encloses. Cylchedu, to 
encircle, to include in a circle. Perhaps the name 
has reference to the Druidical circle stones. 

Malldraeth. — Mall — sodden ; traeth, beach 
or marsh. The place is sometimes called Cors 
Ddygai. The hundred of Malldraeth contains many 
parishes, and reaches from the sea near Aberffraw to the 
vicinity of Traethcoch. 

Menai Bridge. — ^The Welsh name is Porthaethwy, 
which is variously derived. The late Rev P. B. 
Williams writes : — " This ferry, probably, took its name 
from the hundred or division in which it is situated — 
Tindaethwy. lago Emlyn derives aethwy thus : Aeth, 
terrible ; wy-gwy, water ; founding his reason on the 
perilousness of the passage across the straits. Another 
writer thinks it is Porth-y-caeth-wy, the port of the 
narrow water: The place has been popularly called 
Menai Bridge ever since the construction of the world- 


renowned bridge that spans the straits. Menai comes 
from Main-aw, which signifies the narrow water ; or it 
might be Main-wy, which means the same. 

MoELFRE. — A very common place-name in Wales. 
It is a compound of Mod, bare, bald ; and hre, a hill, 
mountain. The name is generally applied to a treeless- 
hill, but covered with short, smooth grass, sometimes 
interspersed with heath. 

Mynydd Parys. — Parys mountain, probably from 
a Robert Parys, who was chamberlain of North Wales 
in the reign of Henry IV. This hill is noted for 
its copper ore. 

Nebo. — ^This village takes its name from a Noncon- 
' formist chapel in the place. 

NiwBWRCH, or Newborough. — Its ancient name, 
according to some was Rhosfair, from a small church 
dedicated to St. Mary. Mr. Rowlands thinks the name 
was Rhos Hir, long meadow, from its situation in an 
extensive marshy plain on the eastern side. The place 
was once the capital of Mona, and the residence of the 
princes of North Wales. Edward I. made it a free 
corporation, from which circumstance originated the 
present name of Newborough. Niwbwrch probably 
represents the older pronunciation of Newborough. 

Pencarneddi. — Pen, head, top, end ; Carneddi, a 
plural form of Carnedd, which denotes a sepulchral heap 
of stones. Carneddau were the common monuments 
erected by the ancient Britons in honour of their great men. 

Penmynydd. — ^The name signifies mountain top, 
and was given to the village from respect to the 
mansion of the same name, which is famous for being 
the place where Owain Tudor was born in 1384. 


Pensarn. — Pen, head, end ; Sam, Roman paved 
road, a causeway. A name of frequent occurrence in 
Welsh topography. 

Pentraeth. — -The parish is also called Llanfair- 
Bettws-Geraint. The church was dedicated to St. Mary 
about the sixth century, and supposed to have been built 
by Ceraint or Gerimius, grandson of Constantine. The 
village is called Pentraeth from its being situated at the 
head or upper end of the sandy beach, or bay, which is 
called Traethcoch or Red Wharf Bay. 

PoNTRiPONT. — A corruption, probably, of Pontrhyd- 
y-bont. The ancient name was Rhydpont, or Rhyd-y-bont, 
the ford of the bridge. The prefix pont was probably 
added when another bridge was built across Rhydybont. 

Rhosbeirio. — Rhos, a moor, a dry meadow ; Peirio, 
the name of the son of Caw of Twrcelyn, to whom the 
church is dedicated. Peirio implies what causes or 
effects. " Abwy a bair wybod lie bo " — carrion will cause 
it to be known where it is. 

Rhoscolyn. — Rhos, a moor, a dry meadow ; Colyn 
is perhaps allied with Colofn, a column, a pillar. It 
is said that the Romans erected a column here to 
perpetuate the memory of their conquests in Mona. 
The ancient name of the parish was Llanwenfaen, from 
respect to Gwenfaen, the daughter of Pawl Hen, who is 
supposed to have founded a reUgious institution here. 

Rhosneigr. — Rhos, a moor ; neigr is generally 
supposed to be a corruption of niger=black, in allusion 
to the black hue and peaty nature of the soil. 

Rhosybol. — Bol is an etymological puzzle. It looks 
like a contraction of Paul-Paulinus. Edward Llwyd 
refers to a place called Pant-y-Polion, near which he 


found an inscription of the name Paulinus. Some think 
that Suetonius Paulinus once took up his abode in Taly- 
bolion. We are inclined to think bol is a corruption of moel, 
& coped hill. Moel Don is now commonly called Bol y Don. 
Talybolion was, probably, some time called Talymoelion. 
The name therefore, denotes a moor near a coped hill. 

Traethcoch. — Traeth — beach, sands ; coch, pro- 
bably from Gwion Goch. 

Tregaian. — Caian, a saint who flourished about 
the middle of the fifth century, and founded the 
church of Tregaian. 

Tre-Walchmai. — Tre, a dwelling-place ; Gwalch- 
mai, the son of Meilir. The name was bestowed upon 
the place about the twelfth century. Gwalchmai implies 
a hero in war. 

Valley. — ^A gross mutilation of the Welsh Mael-dy, or 
Mael-le, a house of trade or traffic. Tacitus informs us 
that an extensive trade was carried on between this district 
and Ireland in the time of Julius Agricola. There is a 
homestead not far from the place called " Ty Milo," 
which, evidently, is a corruption of " Ty Maelu," a 
house of trade. 

Yxvs Bronwen. — It is recorded in the " Mabin- 
ogion " that Bronwen, the daughter of Llyr, was buried 
here. " BeM petryal a wnaed i Yronwen, verch Llyr, ar Ian 
afon Alaw" — i.e., "A square grave was made for Bromccn, 
the daughter of Llyr, on the banks of the river Alaw 
(Cambro-Briton, vol. ii., p. 71.) Ynys means an island. 

Yny5 Seiriol. — It is also called Puffin Island. 
It is about one mile in length and half a mile in breadth. 
Seiriol, son of Owen Danwyn, erected his cell here in the 
sixth century. 


The county was anciently called Garth Madryn ; 
garth, that part of a mountain that terminates in a point, 
a promontory ; Madryn, an old Welsh word for fox. It 
appears that madryn's offspring, wolves, wild cats and 
beavers abounded in that part of the principality in time 
of yore. 

Brychan ruled over that part of the country about 
A.D. 400-450, and gave the county its present name. The 
name has been variously spelt — ^Brechiniawg, Brechiniaug, 
Brechiniog, Brecheiniog and Brycheiniog. Leland spells 
it Brekenock, Brecknock, Brekenok, and Breknok. 
Brecknock is the English form of Brycheiniog, and Brecon 
probably a contraction thereof made by persons who were 
unable to pronounce Brych or Brech ; or it may be an 
English form of the Latinised Brechinia. Brecknock 
was constituted a county by an act of Henry VIII in 1536. 
Before 1536, the English form was Brecknock, but after- 
wards it was known as Brecknock and Brecon. In 1606 
the town was called Brecon and Brecknock. The official 
method of spelling the name has almost invariably been 

Brychan is probably derived from brych, which signi- 
fies brindled, or spotted. 

Dyn brych, a freckled man. 

Aberbaidon. — ^This place is situated at the con- 
fluence of the rivers Baidon and Usk. The radix is 
Baid, briskness, liveliness. 

Abercrave. — ^The old Welsh name was Abercrdf, 
from its situation at the confluence of the brook Craf or 


Crai, with the river Tawy. Cra-af, the issuing forth, the 
channel torn by the impulsive force of the stream, as 
well as the act of tearing or breaking up any substance. 
Crafu means to scratch ; crafangu, to claw, to gripe. 

Abergwesyn. — ^The place is situated at the con- 
fluence of the rivers Gwesyn and Irvon. According to 
the Welsh Triads, Gwesyn is an old Welsh word for a 
shepherd, and he was so called after Gwesyn, the shep- 
herd of Goronwy ah Ednyfain. The district is noted for 
rearing sheep, and some think that the name Gwesyn 
was given to the stream that runs through the place in 
honour of some popular shepherd. 

Aberhonddu. — Honddu, the name of the river that, 
on approaching the town, flows quietly into and joins 
the Usk to run to its destination. Hon represents or 
older Hodn, and ddu, black, seems to indicate the 
respective hue of the water. Many Welsh streams 
and lakes received their names from the peculiar hue 
of their respective waters, such as Gwenffrwd, white 
stream ; Pwllglas, blue pool. Llewellyn uses the word 
Jioen in that sense : " Hoen hlodau haf," the colour of 
the summer flowers. Hoen also implies liveliness, 

Perhaps hoen was used to denote the lively nature 
of the river, and ddu, black, to indicate the hue of its 
waters. Others seem to think that the name is a com- 
pound of hawn-heini, swift, wild, hasty ; and dwy, which 
implies a sacred character. The term was applied by 
the Druids to their sacred stream, such as Dyfrdwy, 

We rather think the correct wording is Hawn-ddii, 
the rapid black stream, which is true description of 


its course from its rise on the Eppynt mountain to its 
junction with the Usk. 

Aberllyfni. — Llyfni is a compound of llyfn, 
smooth ; and wy, water. The place is delightfully 
situated at the junction of the Llyfni and Wye Rivers. 

Aberyscir. — ^A corruption of Aheresgair, from its 
situation on the river Esgair, which discharges itself 
here into the river Usk. Esgair here implies a branch, 
or tributary. 

Battle. — This small parish, according to tradition, 
received its name from a battle that was fought here, 
in which Bleddyn ah Maenyrch, the last of the Brychan 
princes was killed by Bernard de Newmarch. We find 
several names in the vicinity which favour the above 
derivation, such as Heol y Cymry, the Welshmen's road ; 
Cwm Gwyy y Gad, the vale of the battle men. 

Beaufort. — ^The popular Welsh name of this place 
is Cendl, from Kendall, the name of the proprietor of 
the Ironworks that were once the mainstay of the place. 
The present name was given in honour of the Duke of 

Beulah. — ^This village takes its name from a chapel 
of that name which belongs to the Congregational body. 

Bronllys. — Some spell it Brynllys, and others 
Brwynllys, but the former is the correct wording. A 
farmhouse in the parish is called Bryn y Groes, the hill 
of the cross. History points to the probability that 
wars were engaged in here, from which we may infer that 
a llys, a court, was held on a certain hill in the vicinity. 
The old castle is still called Bronllys. 


Brynmawr. — It was anciently called Waun Helygen^ 
willow-tree common, from a meadow in the place which, 
abounded with willow-trees, but when it became an 
important seat of the iron and coal trades, the old 
name was changed for the new and more dignified one 
of Brynmawr, the big hill. 

BuiLTH. — ^This name is a mutation of BualU. Some 
are of opinion that BualU is the Bulceum Silurum of the 
Romans, but others are induced to think the name is a 
derivative of Bual, the wild ox or buffalo. Llanfair-yn- 
MualU, St. Mary's Church in the wood of the wild ox. 
Historians believe that the wild ox ranged unmolested 
in the forests of this district. We offer the following 
derivation ; Bii, an ox ; allt, gallt, a wooded eminence. 

Capel Isaf. — Isaf, lower, is a differentia added to 
distinguish it from Capel Uchaf. 

Capel Uchaf. — ^The name means the higher chapel,, 
and it was so called from the chapel of ease that was 
built in the place. 

Capelyffin. — ^The name signifies boundary chapel,, 
and is derived by Mr. Jones (History of Brecknock) 
thus : "In 1708 there was a long dispute in the 
ecclesiastical court about this chapel (chapel of the 
boundary); Lewis Thomas, clerk, vicar of Llanigon, 
refused to do duty here as there was no salary annexed 
to the cure, whereupon he was cited to the bishop's, 
court at the promotion of some of the parishioners, and 
in the articles filed against him it is stated that some- 
times a corpse remained uninterred a whole night, and 
children died without being baptized in consequence of 
the vicar's neglect, though he had theretofore regularly 
officiated there by himself or curate for ten or twelve 


years. In this cause many old witnesses were examined, 
two or three of them say the chapel is in the hamlet of 
Blaenhwch, in the parish of Glasbury, others that it is in 
Llanigon, but all agree that it is a chapel of ease to the 

Cathedin. — ^Mr. Jones, in his History of Breck- 
nock," states that this vicinity was given by Bernard 
de Newmarch towards the support of Gwrgan, who 
was to be kept confined in Brecon Castle. The 
origin of the word is uncertain. 

Cefn-Coed-y-Cymmer. — Cefn, back, ridge ; coed, 
wood ; y, the ; cymmer, confluence of waters. The 
village is situated on a rising, and (one time) very 
woody eminence, below which the Taf Fawr and Taf 
Fechan embrace each other. 

Cenol. — Canol, middle, is the right wording. This 
picturesque neighbourhood forms the middle of Llanfi- 
hangel-Cwmdu ; hence the name. 

Cil-le. — This name signifies a sequestered place. 

CiLMERY. — Some think the right wording is Cil Mieri 
cil, is spelt Kil in Ireland and signifies a church ; mieri, 
plural of miaren, a bramble. We rather think the name 
is a corruption of Cil-Mary, St. Mary's Church. 

CoLBREN. — Col, a sharp hillock ; pren, a tree, a 
piece of wood. Some think the word is a corruption of 
coelhren, a piece of wood used in choosing or balloting. 

Cray. — ^This name is, probably, a corruption of 
crai, whifch, when used geographically, denotes a deep 
place in a valley. The Word is used to signify a hole 
in the handle of a weapon. Crui'r nodwydd, the eye or 
hole of a needle. 


The Swansea reservoir is situated in this beautiful 

Crickadarn. — Some are of opinion that Crug-cadarn 
is the true orthography. Crug, heap or bank ; cadarn, 
strong. The church was built upon the top of a craggy 
hillock. We rather think it is a contraction of Cerryg- 
cadarn, from the rocks and stones which appear 
frequently on the surface in different parts of the parish., 
The river Clettwr rushes over rocks and through craggy 
places until it falls into the Wye at Erv.'ood. Clettwr 
is a contraction of caled-ddwr, hard water, or it might be 
Clyd-ddwv, sheltered water. 

Crickhowel. — A mutation of Crug Hywel, or Cerrig 
Hvicel. Crug, a heap ; hywel, conspicuous. Cerrig, 
stones ; Howel, proper name. Historians differ as to 
the application of the \'\'ord Hywel. Some apply it to 
the place from the conspicuity of the hill ; others apply 
it to Howel, the prince of Glamorgan. The latter 
theory is supported by the fact that in this vicinity the 
territorial boundaries of Howel and the Lords of 
Brecknock were determined. After the battle Howel 
raised a huge heap of stones to define the boundary 
henceforth ; hence the name Crug Hywel, Howel's heap. 
Cerrig Hywel alludes to the same circumstance. Some 
derive the name from Crug Hywel, an ancient British 
fortress, surrounded by large heaps of stones, situated 
about two miles north -north-east of the town, the 
remains of which are still visible. 

CwiiiOY. — A corruption of Cwm lau, the vale of 
yoke, so called, probably, from the resemblance of the 
vale to oxen's yoke. " Cymerwch fy ia^ arnoeh."—" take 
My yoke upon you." 


Defynog. — Some derive this name from 'dyfnog, 
which signifies a place abounding with glens. Dyfn, 
■deep. Devon comes from the same root. Others think 
the patron saint is Dyfnog, the son of Medrod, a grand- 
son of Cradoc Freich-fras, who flourished in the sixth 
century. The right wording is Tref Cynog. Saint 
Cynog, son of Brychan, flourished in the fifth century, 
and founded a church here, which is dedicated to him. 
His name is preserved also in Merthyr Cynog, and Llan- 

DoLYG.\ER. Dol, meadow ; gaer — caer, a wall. This 
place took its name from a farmhouse of the same 

DuKESTOWN. — In honour of the Duke of Beaufort. 

Dyfnant. — A compound of dyjn, deep, and nant, a 

Erwood. — Some think this is an Anglicized form 
of the Welsh Erw-yd, which signifies the land of com. 
It is, probably, a corruption of y rhyd, the ford, in 
allusion to a certain ford in the river Wye, \\'here 
■cattle were wont to cross in time of yore. 

Felinfach. — ^The name means the Uttle mill 
probably derived from an old mill which formed the 
nucleus of the village. 

Garth. — ^From an old mansion of the name, whence 
the celebrated Charles Wesley had his " better half." 
Garth has been explained in the introduction. 

Glasbury.— -This name is derived by some from 
glas, green, verdanty and bury, borough, probably from, 
the beauty and fertility of the valley. The ancient 


name of this place was Y Chis, the green or verdant 
inclosure. Clasdir means glebe land. 

GwENDDWR. — ^A compound of gwen, feminine form 
of gwyn, white, clear, transparent, and dwr, water. 

GwRAVOG. — ^This name has suffered a little from 
mutation. Gwar, a ridge ; af from haf, summer ; hafog,. 

Halfway. — ^This village derives its name from an 
inn so called, which is situated half-way between Tre- 
castell and Llandovery. 

Hay. — ^The original name was Gelli, which signifies 
an enclosed park or forest, containing wood or boscage- 
within a fence or pale ; a grove ; and the present name 
is supposed to have been derived from the Norman- 
French Haye or Haie, which originally meant the hedge 
or inclosure itself only, but in course of time its meaning 
was amplified, and the name was used to denote the 
wood and ground inclosed. Haier, to inclose. Here 
we perceive the Welsh name supplanted by that of the 
Norman Castle. 

LiBANUS. — ^This place probably derives its name 
from a sacred edifice so called, which belongs to the 
Congregational body. 

Llanafan Fawr. — ^The church was dedicated to 
bishop lenan or Ivan, whose name is found in the list of 
the prelates of St. David's during the tenth century, 
and who is supposed to have been murdered by the 
Danes in a meadow on the Whefri side, a little below 
the vicarage house, where a maen hir was placed, 
obviously, in Jnemory of the martyred bishop. On an 
altar-tomb in the churchyard the following inscription 
is discernible : " Hie jacet Sanctus Avanus Episcopus.'" 


Llanamlech. — Ami, many ; llech-lech, a stone. The 
■church is built upon the strata of the rock, and the 
churchyard contains a great number of stones and 
fragments of slates. There is a village called Llechfaen 
in the same parish, which supports the given derivation. 

Llanbedr Ystradyw. — Llanbedr, St. Peter's church. 
Ystradyw, or more correctly Ystrad-wy, the vale of 
waters, was added to distinguish the parish from St. 
Peter's at Painscastle, Glasbury, &c. Ystrad yw, also 
denotes the vale of EwiAS, Herefordshire. 

Llaxdefaelog Fach. — ^The old church was dedi- 
cated to St. Tyfaelog. It was rebuilt in 1831. The 
village is beautifully situated on the river Honddu. 

Llandefalley. — Defalley may be a corruption of 
Tyvaelog, to whom this church was probably dedicated. 

Llandeilo Arfan. — The church is dedicated to 
St. Teilo. Arfan is probably a contraction of Ar Mawen. 
The church is situated near the conflux of three brooks, 
the Mawen, the Ethryw, and Cilieni. This derivation is 
supported by the following fact : In the register book 
of Devynock the following may be seen, " Siwan Morgan 
de Nant y Sebon in Llandeilo ar Fawen, sepulta est oet. 96, 
■octris. 1726." Mawen signifies broad water. 

Llanddew. — It is sometimes spelt Llanthew. — Some 
think the right wording is Llandduw, the church of God. 
or the church of the Holy Trinity. We have no instance 
of a church thus dedicated. The name is probably an 
abbreviation of Llanddewi, the church of St. David's. It 
appears that Llanddew was at one time a seat and 
Jiouse of the bishop of St. David's. 

Llanelli. — ^The church is supposed to have been 


dedicated to Ellyned or Eilineth, a daughter of Brychan. 
Some think it was anciently called Llanellyned, of which 
Llanelly is an abbreviation. 

Llanfeugan. — Meugan, the son of Gwyndaf Hen, 
was a saint of the sixth century, and founded the 
church which bears his name. 

Llanfihangel Cwmdu. — Llanfihangel, St. Michael's 
church. Opinions differ as to Cwmdu, the black or 
gloomy vale. The old inhabitants very strongly ob- 
jected to the name Cwmdit, as the following couplet 

shows ; Cam enwir ef Cwmdu, 

Cwm, gwyn yw'n cwyn ni. 
It is wrongly called the vale of gloom, 
Ours is a fair and bright coomb. 

A glance at this cheerful vale would never suggest such 
a gloomy appellation. The ancient name of the parish 
was Llanfihangel tref Cerriau, or Caerau, from the numerous 
fortifications there are in it, and the present name is 
supposed to have taken its origin from the black moor- 
stone rock, which is on the brow of an adjacent hill. 
Some derive it from Cwm De, the south vale, from its 
being situated in the southern part of the cantrev of 
Crickhowell. We have instances of du being changed, 
into de and dee, such as Tydu-Tydee, &c., and it might 
have undergone the same process here. 

Llanfihangel Nantbran. — ^The church was dedi- 
cated to St. Michael, and is situated on a tributary 
called Bran. Nant Bran, Bran brook. 

Llanfilo. — ^The church is dedicated to Milburg, 
the eldest daughter of Merwald, King of Mercia, and a 
saint of the seventh century. Ffynon Vila, a well in 
the neighbourhood, also preserves her name. 


Llanfrynach. — Brynach, an abbot and confessor, 
married Corth, the daughter of Brychan. The church 
was dedicated to him. 

Llangammarch. — Some think the name signifies 
the church upon the river Cammarch, but the general 
opinion is that the church is dedicated to Cammarch, a 
grandson of Brychan. 

Llangasty-Talyllyn. — Gastyn was an eminent 
rehgious teacher in Brychan's family, and the above 
church was dedicated to him. Talyllyn, the end of the 
lake, in allusion to the situation of the church. 

Llangantex. — The church is dedicated to Canten, 
grandson of Brychan. 

Llangattock. — The church is dedicated to Cattwg, 
grandson of Brychan. 

Llangors. — ^A contraction of Llan-yn-y-gors, the 
church in the Fen or Marsh. The soil near the lake is 
very marshy. The correct name of the lake is Llynsa- 
faddan, the standing water or lake. An old tradition 
says that the lake covers the remains of an ancient 
and populous city called Loventium. 

Llangynidr, — St. Cynidr, grandson of Brychan, 
founded the churches at Llangynidr and Aberyscir, which 
were subsequently dedicated to him and St. Mary. 

Llanigon. — ^The old church was dedicated either 
to Eigen, daughter of Cradoc ab Bran, or to Eigion or 
Eigron, son of Caw, a saint of the sixth century. The 
present church is dedicated to Nicholas. 

Llanilid. — ^The church was dedicated to St. Hid, 
and is situated on the banks of the river Crai. 


Llanlleonfoel. — Lleon might have reference to 
Sam Lleon or Sam Helen, Helen's causeway, a branch 
of which, it is supposed, passed through the place. 
The suffix foel signifies a bare tract of land. 

Llanspyddyd. — A corruption, according to some, 
of Llan-oshaidd-ty , a house of entertainment or refresh- 
ment for guests. In ancient times hospitable mansions 
were kept by the monks to entertain man and beast 
free of charge, and the chief officer therein was called 
Hostillarius, whose sole duty was " To welcome the 
coming, speed the going guest." It is said that this 
hospitium was supported by the priory of Malvern. 

Llanwrtyd. — ^The church, according to some, is 
dedicated to St. Wrtyd, but we cannot find the name in 
" Bonedd y Saint." Its proximity to the river Irvon, 
where, in times of yore, there was a ford, which is now 
spanned by a stone bridge, induces us to think the right 
wording is Llan-wrth-y-rhyd, the church by the ford. A 
place in Herefordshire is called Byford from the situa- 
tion of the church by a ford. The ancient name of the 
village was Pontrhydybere, which is a compound of pont, 
bridge ; rkyd, ford ; y, the ; fferau, ankles ; signifying a 
bridge spanning a ford which one could wade without 
going over one's ankles. Irfon, or Irfawn, signifies the 
oozings from the turbary, which is very descriptive of 
the river. 

Llanywern. — Gwem means a bog or swamp ; 
gwernen, the alder tree ; the alder grows in wet swampy 
places. The name signifies the church in the swamp 
or alderwood. 

Llechfaen. — ^The ancient etymology of this name 
means the " upright qr lofty stone." There was a 


•chapel of ease here sometime to the mother church of 

Llechryd. — ^From a farm of the name, but it is 
now called Rhymney Bridge from the railway station. 

Llwynegrog. — ^The right wording is Llwyn-y-grog, 
which means the bush of the cross. 

Llyswen. — ^The name signifies a white court. A 
Welsh prince resided in the parish at some period, and 
probably held a court here ; hence the name. Some 
think it is Llys Owen, Owen's court ; but who this Owen 
was, we are not informed. 

Llywel. — Sometimes spelt Lliwel, which, accord- 
ing to some is a mutation of Llu-lle, the residence of 
the army, in allusion to the soldiers of Rhys ab Tewdwr 
making this place one of their stations to resist the 
attacks of the Norman invaders. It is derived by some 
from Lie Wyllt, a nephew of Rhys ab Tewdwr. We offer 
the following : Lly, what is manifest ; wel-gwel, see ; 
signifying a conspicuous place. Trecastell mountain is 
2,596 feet high. 

Maesygwarthaf. — Maes, a field ; gwarthaf, the 
upper part, the summit. The village lies in the upper 
part of the parish ; hence its descriptive name. Some 
of the inhabitants think the name is a corruption of 
Maesygwartheg, cattle field. 

Maesymynys. — Ym, yn, in ; ynys, island ; therefore, 
it hterally means a field in the island. This derivation 
is supported by the fact that Llanynys is the name of 
the contiguous parish. 

Merthyr Cynog. — Merihyr, martyr ; Cynog, the 
eldest son of Brychan. He was murdered by the Saxon 


pagans on a mountain called Y Fan, where a church 
was built on his grave in commemoration of his martyr- 
dom, which was called Merthyr Cynog. 

Nantyffin. — ^The nanle signifies the boundary 
brook. The bounds of a parish or county are frequently- 
defined by certain marks or boundaries, such as heaps 
of stones, dikes, hedges, ditches, rivers, streams, 
rivulets, &c. 

Nantyrarian. — It signifies the silver brook. 

Xewchurch. — ^The ancient name of this church was. 
Llau-ddulas-tir-yr-Abbad. — It was presented by Rhys ab 
Gruffydd, to the monastery of Strata Florida, on account 
of which it was called Tir-yr-Abbad, abbot's land. In. 
1716 a new church was built here ; hence the new name. 

Onllwyn. — ^This appears like a transposition of 
Llwyn On, the ash grove. 

Pantycelyn. — Pant, a hollow, a low place ; celyn,. 
holly wood. 

Patrishow. — ^The name is a corruption, either of 
Parihau yr Ishow, the territory of Ishow, the patron saint 
of the parish, or of Merthyr Ishow. It appears that 
Bishop Herewald, in the eleventh century, dedicated 
the church to Ishow, and named it Merthyr Yssui. 

Pencelli. — This is a compound of pen, head, and 
celli, grove. 

Penderyn. — A corruption probably of Penydaren, 
which is a very frequent term in South Wales, signifying 
a rocky cliff, a rocky tump. The church is situated on 
the very summit of a rock. Pen-mailard is close by, 
which is a corruption of Pen-moel-arth, the summit of the 
bare cliff. 


Pentre Berw. — Pentre — ^village ; Berw, perhaps 
refers to Plus Berw. Berw'rdwr means water cress, and 
berw'r gerddi — ^garden cress. Near Plas Berw there is a 
small waterfall. Berw means also a boiling, an ebulli- 

Pentre Bwaau. — Pentre — ^village ; Bwaau — ^bows. 
Tradition has it that this place was noted sometime for 
being the armoury where our forefathers kept their bows 
in time of war. 

Pentrefelin. — Pentre, village ; felin, mill. 

Pentre Solers. — ^From the Solers or de Solariis, 
Norman conquerors, who settled in the neighbourhood, 
and continued to be very wealthy and influential here 
until the middle of the seventeenth century. Another 
branch of the house of Solers settled at Pauntley and 
Shipton Solers, in Gloucestershire. 

Penwyllt. — -A corruption of Pen-wyli [gwyll], the 
gloomy place. Gwyll is an old Welsh word to denote a 
fairy, and perhaps this isolated spot was a fairy hill. 

PONTBRENLLWYD. — Pont, bridge ; pren, wood ; llwy-p 
grey, adorable. In olden times a very ancient oak-tree 
was thrown across the rivulet in the place, which was 
a very good specimen of the unadorned wooden bridges 
of our forefathers. In course of time this old much-worn 
oak became a kind of trough, for which it was called 

PoNTNEDDFECHAN. — Nedd fechan, the lesser Neath, 
is a tributary emptying itself into the greater Neatk 
river, and spanned by a bridge in the village, hence the 


PoNTSARN. — Pont, bridge ; sarn, Roman paved road. 
The name is an abbreviation of Pont-y-Sarn-hir, the bridge 
of the long Roman road. One branch of the Roman road 
called Sarn Hir went through the Rhymney Valley 
Gelligaer, Twynywaun, Penygarndu, Pantcadifor, Pont- 
sarn and ascended the Brecon Beacons and terminated 
at Caerbannau near the town of Brecon. This road 
crossed the Taff a little below the present bridge, where 
the river could be forded. 

PoNTSENNY. — ^The name signifies a bridge across 
the Senny river. Senny is derived by some from san, a 
fishery, nets ; and gwy, water ; signifying a river 
abounding in fish. Mr. Jones (" History of Breck 
nock ")■ derives it from the Celtic seanaidd, to drop or 
ooze forth, the name, accordingly, signifying the oozing 
■or flowing water. 

PoNTSTiCYLL. — A compound of pont, bridge ; and 
ystigl, a stile, from the Anglo-Saxon stigel, a step. 
Stigan, to ascend. About the beginning of this century 
there was an old bridge, a little below the village, with 
a stile at each end of it, from which the place received 
its name. 

Princetown. — ^From an old public house in the 
place called " Prince of Wales." 

PwLLGWRACH. — Pwll, a pool ; gwrach, a hag ; 
literally, the hag's pool. The village lies in a deep 
valley at the base of Talgarth Hill. 

Rhosferrig. — Rhos, moor, meadow ; Ferrig from 
Ferreg, an extensive district situate between the rivers 
Wye and Severn. The suffix is probably a corruption 
■of Meurig. 

Sreconshire. 77 

Seven Sisters. — Mr. Bevan, the brewer, when he 
opened his colUery in the place, called it Seven Sisters in 
honour of his Seven daughters. 

TafarnaU Bach. — ^The ancient name of this place 
was Twyn-aher-dwynant, a hillock where two brooks 
embrace each other. Some derive the present name 
from tafarn a bach, a public house with a hook attached 
to the outer wall, whereto the rider, having dismounted 
his steed, could fasten it. Others derive it from the 
great number of small taverns in the place. 

Talachddu. — Achddu is the name of a small brook, 
Ack, a stem, a pedigree, a river ; ddu, inflection of iw, 
black. We find ach in Clydach, Mawddach, &c. The 
river Ach has its source in the Black Mountain ; hence 
it is called Achddu. 

Talgarth. — Garth means a cape, a hill. Talgarth 
denotes the end or head of a cape, or the brow of a hill. 

Talybont. — Tal, when appUed to places, means 
end ; but when appHed to persons it denotes front. 
Taliesin means radiant front or luminous head. Talybont 
means Bridgend. 

Talyllyn. —L^yw, lake. The name signifies the 
end of a lake. Safaddan Lake is close by. 

Three Cocks. — ^From a public house of the name. 

Torpantau. a compound of tor, a break, a 
rupture ; arid pantau, plural of pant, hollow : a name 
quite descriptive of this wild spot. A great number of 
brooks rush impetuously from the higher grounds, 
forming excavations in the hills, a glatice at which 
immediately helps one to catch the meaning of the 


Trallwng. — Some think the name signifies " a sott 
place on the road or elsewhere that travellers may be 
apt to sink into ; a dirty, boggy place." Edward 
Llwyd derives it from Traeth-lyn, a quagmire. The 
distance of this place from the sea-shore dismisses the 
component traeth from the name altogether. Mr. Jones 
(History of Brecknock) thinks the name is a corruption 
of Tre'y lleng, oppidum legionis, the town of the 
legion, founding his reasons upon the supposition that 
a summer camp of the second legion of Augustus must 
ha^'e been at Twyn-y-gaer, a hill in the parish where an 
artificial mound is still seen. 

Trecastell. — Tre, a place ; castell, castle. A castle 
was built here by Bernard de Newmarch, some ruins 
of which are to be seen now ; hence the name. 

Trefecca. — ^The name signifies Rebecca's home, 
from an heiress of the name of Rebecca Prosser, who 
built it in the reign of Elizabeth. 

Trefil. — Some think the name is a mutation of 
Tir-foel, barren land, which is very descriptive of the 
place, but we rather think it is a compound of ti-e, a 
place, and iiitd, an animal, a beast. Stud farms were 
A'ery numerous among the ancient Britons, and one 
might have been here. 

Trengarth. Tre, a homestead, a village ; n-yn, in, 
y, the, garth, promontory. 

Tre'r Esgob. — ^The tenants in this place owe suit, 
and service to the bishop's courts leet and courts 
baron, and pay their chief rents at Llaiiddcici, St. 
David's. Tre'y Esgob means Bishop's place. 

Vaexor. — ^This is derived' by some from Maenawr, 
which signifies a district surrounded by a wall, a manor. 


According to the laws of Howell the Good, the Maenawr 
contained 1024 acres. This one was probably the 
demesne attached to Morlais castle. In ancient MSS. 
the parish is called Faenor Wen, signifying Gwen or 
Gwenffrewi's demesne or manor. It survives in North 
Wales as Vaenol. Some think it is etymologically dis- 
tinct from English manor, and seems to have meant a 
group of stone buildings. Others think that the root 
is ban, high or lofty ; and ' or ' added to denote a border 
or a boundary. The parish is situate near the base of 
Bannau Brycheiniog — ^Brecon Beacons. 

Velindre. — ^The right wording is y felin-dre, the 
mill of the town, from an old mill, called the lord's, 
mill, that stood here in ancient times. 

YsTRADFELLTE. — Ystfad has already been explained. 
It means here a flat or low vaUey formed by the course 
of the river Mellte. Mellte — mellten, hghtning. The river 
is so called because it runs very rapidly for some 
distance on the surface, and then it is suddenly lost under- 

YsTRADGYNLAis. — ^It is Supposed that this Ystrad,. 
vale, was the marriage portion that Gunleus ap Glewisseg, 
prince of Gwent, and father of Saint Cattwg, received 
with his wife, Gwladys, daughter of Brychan. Others 
state that the church is dedicated to St. Mary, and not 
to St. Gunleus, and that the proper name of the parish 
is Ystrad Gwrlais, or Garwlais, signifying " the vale of the 
rough-sounding brook," and is derived from a stream so 
called, which forms a boundary between the counties 
of Brecknock and Glamorgan. lago Emlyn derives 
Cynlais from cyn, primeval; and dais, a trench through: 
which a stream flows. 


Cardigan is a corruption of Ceredigion, the original 
name, which was so called after Ceredig, the son of 
Cunedda Wledig, who became its king about the end of 
the fourth century. It is also called Aberteifi, from the 
situation of its county town at the estuary of the river 
Teivi. Taf is the radix.which means spreading. Taf-gwy — 
Teifi, the spreading or extending water. 

Aberaeron. — ^This place is situated at the mouth 
of the river Aeyon, which is probably a compound of air 
and ain, signifying bright and clear water. 

Aberarth.— This village is situated at the mouth 
of the river Arth ; hence the name. Arth is the Welsh 
for " bear," and perhaps the river received its name on 
account of the noisy, blustering, bear-like character of 
its waters. Arthu means to growl, like a bear ; to bark 
roughly or hoarsely. Arthog is the tiame of another 
brook in the county, which means bearish, gruff. 
Cyfarth, to bark, belongs to the same family of words. 

Abercerdin. — ^A rivulet called Cerdin flows into 
the river' Teivi about a mile above Llandyssul ; hence 
the name of the place. The common opinion in the 
neighbourhood is that the rivulet was so called from 
the abundance of cerdin, ash trees, that once adorned its 

Abergwrog, — Gwrog, the river's name, is a corrup- 
tion of gwyrog, crooked, devious. Another river in the 
same county is called Gwyre, which may have the same 


Abermaid. — Maid means a boundary, what 
separates, or linaits. The name fitly describes the 
place, since it is a terminating point separating one 
valley from the other. 

Aberpeithnant. — Paith, clear, open, transparent ; 
nant, brook : signifjdng the mouth of the clear brook. 
Paith is the chief radix in the word gohaith, hope. One 
who possesses hope has a clear view of the future. 
Dyffryn Paith, the vale of prospect, is in the same 

Aberporth. — Porth means a harbour. The place 
is a kind of a natural harbour, on account of which it 
was called Aber-y-Porth, the mouth of the harbour. 
Aberystwyth. — ^This fashionable town and seaport 
is situated on the conflux of the rivers Ystwyth and 
Rheidiol, the former of which gives the town its name. 
Its ancient name was Llanhadarn Gaerog, but it has 
been known by its present name since the reign of Queen 

Ardudwy. — Ar, upon or above ; tud, soil, land ; 
wy, water ; literally, on the land or banks of the Wye. 

Argoed. — Ar-ard, signifying height ; coed trees. 
The name signifies a place sheltered by woods. 

Atpar. — ^Probably an AngUcized form of At-bar, 
which means towards the top of the hill. The village 
is also called Trefhedyn, which is probably a corruption 
of Tref-y-din. 

Bettws-Bledrws. — Betiws has already been ex- 
plained. The church is dedicated to St. Bledrws ; 
hence the name. 


Bettws Ifan. — ^The church is dedicated to St. 
John. Ifan or leuan is an old Welsh form of loan, John. 

Blaencaron. — ^This place is situated near the 
source of the river Caron ; hence the name. 

Blaenhownant. — ^This rivulet is called Hownant, 
which is a corruption of hoyw, lively ; and nant, brook ; 
and the place was so called from its situation near the 
source of the Hownant. 

Blaenporth. — Blaen, the extreme end ; porth 
(portus) harbour. In 1114 GrufEydd ab Cynan, Prince 
of North Wales, came to Ceredigion Iscoed, and laid 

siege to a fort that Earl Gilbert and the Flemings had built 

at a place called Blaen Porth Gwythai. 

Blaenyporth. — Blaen, the extreme end ; y, the ; 
porth, harbour. The parish lies on the extreme end of 
the huge rock which forms the southern side of the 
natural harbour called Aberporth. 

Brechfa. — ^A compound of hrech, brindled, freckled, 
and man, a place. It is supposed that Brychan, who 
came originally from Ireland, and settled in Brecon- 
shire in the sixth century, was so called from his being 

Brongest. — Bron, a slope, or side of a hill; 
literally, breast. Cest, a deep glen between two 
mountains. The name is quite descriptive of the situa- 
tion of rhe place. 

Brongwyn.— A parish in Cardigan and Pembroke 
counties. Some are of opinion that this name is a reUc 
of the Druids, to whose system belonged Ceryg y Bryn 
Gwyn, i.e., the stones of the hill of judicature. If so, 
the prefix bron here is a corruption of bryn, a hill. 


BwLCHCRWYS. — Bwlch, a break or breach, a gap, a 
defile ; crwys, a variant form of croes, a cross. The 
name Bwlch-y-groes is of frequent occurrence in the 
Principality. We have many instances of croes being 
■changed to crwys, Y Crwys, Panty crwys and Bwlch-y-crwys, 
&c. '' Dan ei grwys," under the cross, is a phrase even 
now frequently used in Wales in reference to the 
posture of a dead body before it is put into the coffin. 
In Popish times it was customary to put a cross or a 
crucifix on a dead body lying in its shroud ; but now, 
although the phrase is occasionally heard, the usage of 
this Popish relic has been entirely abandoned among 
the Welsh people. Many Welsh places still retain the 
name, among which is Bwlchcrwys. It was customary 
in olden times for pilgrims to prostrate themselves at 
•certain passes to invoke the blessings of the Cross 
before going through ; hence the name Bwlchcrwys or 

Capel y Drindod. — ^This village probably derives 
its name from a Welsh Calvinistic Methodist chapel of 
the name. 

Capel Sion. — So called from the Calvinistic Methodist 
chapel in the place. 

Capel Gwndwn. — Capel, chapel ; cwn, an elevation, 
a rising ; dwn, dusky, swarthy, dark. 

Ceinewydd. — A hybrid name made up of quay, 
from French quai, a mole or bank formed toward the 
sea or on the side of a river for the purpose of loading 
and unloading vessels ; and newydd, new. 

Cellan. — ^The name of this parish is a compound 
of cell, a sheltering place, a grove ; and llan, a church, 
signifying a church in a grove. 


Cenarth. — Some maintain that the right wording 
is Genarth, the bear's jaw. Tradition has it that the 
jaw-bone of a bear was found in the place, and its head- 
in Penarth. Penarth, as we show elsewhere, is Penygarth, 
and we are inclined to think that Cenarth is a compound of 
cefn, ridge, back ; and garth, a fort, a hill, a cape. The 
name is a graphic description of the place, being 
perched on a high ridge, ever watching the graceful 
movements of the Teivi. 

Ceulan. — This place derives its name from the 
river Ceclan that flows through it. Tradition points to 
this place as Taliesin's place of sepulture. 

CiLCENiN. — Cil, a place of retreat ; Cennin, a 
corrupted form of St. Cannen, to whose memory the 
parish church is dedicated. 

CiLCENNiN. — This place probably takes its name from. 
Cenwyn, a saint belonging to the congregation of Padarn,. 
called Bangor Padarn in Llanbadam Fawr. The church 
is dedicated to St. Cenwyn. 

CiLiAU Aeron. — ^The retreats on the Aeron. 

Clarach. — ^This place takes its name from the- 
river Clarach, near which it is situated. Clar-claer,. 
clear ; ach, river. 

Cnwch Coch. — -A corruption, probably of an Irish 
form of Cnwc Coch, the red knoll or mound. 

Croes. — ^This place takes its name from the river 
Croes, which signifies cross. 

CwM Barre. — -A valley through which the river 
Barre flows. Bar, a limit ; re, a corruption of rau, 
pluralising bar. The river is the boundary betweea 


■some parts of the parishes of Troedyraur and Penbryn. 
Barry is supposed to have come from the same root. 

CwM Rheidiol. — Cwm, a low place surrounded by 
hills ; Rheidiol, the name of the river that flows through 
it, which is a contraction of rhyd-y-ddol, the stream of 
the meadow. 

DiHEWVD. — ^A mutation of Dehau-wydd. Dehau, 
south ; gwydd, the state of being in view. Gwyddfod 
means presence. There is a hill called Moel Dihewyd in 
the parish, so called from its southern aspect. 

DoLBLODAU. — Dol, a meadow ; Blodau, flowers. 

Dothi-Camddwr. — Dothi, a corrupted form of 
dowyddu, which implies swelling ; Camddwr, the crooked 
water, the name of the river that flows through the 
place, so called from its meandering course. 

Felinbedair. — Felin, mill ; bedair, four. So called 
from the fact that there are 4 wells contributing their 
quota to keep the mill going. 

Ferwig. — Berw, a boiling, an ebuUition ; wig, inflec- 
tion of gwig, a grove, a nook. The right orthography 
is Berwig, which, according to some, is cognate with 
Berwick and other places in England. 

Ffair Rhos. — Ffaiv, fair ; rhos, meadow, moorland. 
In olden times five fairs were held annually in this 
village, but eventually they were moved to Pontrhyd- 

Gartheli. — ^A corrupted form of Gwrtheli, the 
name of the saint who founded a chapel in the 


GwENFYL. — ^The village takes its najne from St. 
Gwenfyl, who flourished 433-464. The Calvinistic 
Methodists began to worship here in a barn owned by the 
Rev. Dl. Rowlands, Llangeitho, in 1757. The Post 
Office was opened here in July, 1853. 

GwBERT. — Gwy — ^water ; heri=pert, pretty. 

Hawen. — ^The village takes its name from the 
river Hawen. Hawen ist a compound of aw, a moving 
agent, water, and an or ain, brook, signifying the running 
stream. Some think the name is an abbreviated form of 
hafod-wen, the white summer-house. 

Henbelin. — A corrupted form, probably, of Hen- 
felin, old mill. 

Henfynyw. — ^The name signifies " Old Menevia." 
Tradition has it that the cathedral of St. David's was 
originally designed to have been erected here. This 
parish is famous for being the place where the patron saint 
of Wales spent his earlier days. A spring that is 
near the church is still called Ffynon Ddewi, St. David's 

Henllan. — ^The name signifies old church, and it 
points out the great antiquity of the original edifice of 
this parish. 

Henllys. — Hen, old ; llys, court, hall, or seat, 
signifying the ancient hall. Henllys and Gadlys are 
found to be very numerous in Wales, as traces of the 
battles fought by the Welsh princes. 

Llananerch. — ^A compound of Llan and llannerch, an 
enclosure, and sometimes the latter signifies a rising 


Llanarth. — Arth here means a bear, according to 
some. The general opinion of the inhabitants is that 
bears existed here at some remote period. It is hardly 
credible that the saintly Cymry, would do the bear such 
an honour as to couple his name with the sacred 
edifice; We derive the name from Llan, church ; and 
garth, a hill, and sometimes enclosure.. 

Llanbadarn. — ^The church is dedicated to Padarn, 
who, according to Usher, was an Armorican bishop, 
and came to Wales with his cousin Cadvan in 516. 
He left lUtyd's seminary for Ceredigion, and gathered a 
congregation of 120 members at a place called after- 
wards Llanbadarn Fawr. The differentia fawr was added 
to mark its pre-eminence over the other parishes of the 
same name, and to distinguish it from the adjacent 
town of Aberystwyth, which was anciently called Llan- 
badarn Gaerog. 

Llanbedr-pont-Stephan. — ^The popular English 
name is Lampeter, which is an AngUcized form of 
Llanbedr. We find many churches in Wales bearing 
the name Pedr, Peter, but who this Peter was is a 
matter of conjecture. Most writers point to Peter the 
Apostle. From a certain document the pont, bridge, 
appears to have been erected early in the fifteenth 
century. " Rhys, the son of David ap Rhys, of 
Pencarreg, married Lleuan, daughter of leuan David 
Llwyd ap David Ddu ap David Decka ap Steven, the 
man who erected Lampeter bridge at his own expense." 

Llandain Fach. — Dain means beautiful, fine ; fach 
Uttle. The name signifies the beautiful Uttle church. 

Llandegwy. — Tegwy was a saint of the sixth 


century, and a descendant of Nudd Hael. The above 
church was dedicated to him. 

Llandysiliogogo. — St. TysiHo, a bishop and an 
eminent author, who flourished about the middle of the 
seventh century. Brut Tysilio, a copy of which is in the 
Myv. Arch., is attributed to him. He was the patron 
saint of many churches in Wales. The differentia 
gogo is a mutation of gogofau, caves, which are very 
numerous in the parish. 

Llandyssul. — Tysul, a descendant of Cunedda 
Wledig, and a saint of the sixth century, to whom the 
above church was dedicated. At Esgair Wen, a small 
farm in this parish, the immortal Christmas Evans was 
bom on Christmas Day, 1766. 

Llanddeiniol. — Deiniol Wyn, or Daniel, assisted 
his father, Dunawd Fur, in founding the celebrated 
monastery at Bangor Iscoed, and he founded several 
churches, of which Llanddeiniol is reckoned to be one ; 
hence the name. 

Llanddewi-Aberarth. — ^The church was dedicated 
to Dewi, the patron saint of Wales. Aler, estuary ; 
Arth, the name of the river, near the mouth of which 
the village is situated. Arth signifies rough, harsh. 

Llanddewi-Brefi. — Brefi means bellowing. The 
traditional ox overstrained himself in endeavouring to 
draw the avanc (beaver) from the lake, and suddenly 
expired. The other, having lost his yoke-fellow, would 
not be consoled, refused food, and wandered about 
until he died in a place called Brefi, so called from the 
dismal moans of the sacred animal. Dewi, the patron 
saint of Wales, founded a church and a rehgious 


seminary on the spot ; hence Llanddewi-Brefi. A famous 
synod was held here in the 6th century with the view of 
suppressing the Telagian heresy. 

Llanddyfriog.- — Tyfriog, a saint who flourished 
about the close of the sixth century, founded the church. 

Llanfair. — ^The church was dedicated to St. 
Mary ; hence the name of the little village would be 
Mary's Church. 

Llanfihangel Castell Gwallter. — ^The church 
was dedicated to St. Michael. Walter I'Espec built a 
castle on a hill near the church during the Norman 
conquest ; hence the additional name. 

Llanfihangel Lledrod. — ^The church is dedicated 
to St. Michael. Lledrod is a compound of llethr, a slope, 
and troed, a foot, base ; the church being built at the 
base of the slope. 

Llanfihangel-y-Creuddyn. — ^The church is dedi- 
cated to St. Michael. Lewis Morris derives Creuddyn 
from creu, blood ; and dun, a fort, signifying a bloody 
tort. There is a commot of the same name near 
Conway, in which the castle of Dyganwy was situated, 
where the English kings, John and Henry III., had 
their camps in their fruitless expeditions against the 

Llangeitho. — St. Ceitho, son of Cynyr Tarfdrwch, 
who flourished in the sixth century, founded the church, 
which was dedicated to him. 

Llangoedmor. — Coed, wood ; mor-mawr, great. The 
spot where the church is built abounds with timber 
of ancient and luxuriant growth. 


Llangrannog. — Some trace the name to SL 
Cranog, the son of Corun, the son of Ceredig ; whilst 
others derive it from Gwyddno Garanhir (long-shanked), 
which means the crane, reckoned to be a representative 
of the priest of the ark, who safely landed the vessel 
upon the reef of Sam Badrig, Patrick's Causeway. We- 
adopt the former derivation. 

Llangunllo. — Cunllo, once a prince, became the 
patron saint of several churches in Wales. He is- 
recorded in Rees's Welsh Saints as Cynllo, the king. 

Llangwyryfon. — Gwyryfon, virgins. Tradition says 
that this church was aedicated to Ursula and iioo- 
blessed virgins, who fled with St. Padarn from 
Armorica to avoid the persecution that raged there in 
the sixth century, and settled in this parish, leading a 
pure and holy life. 

Llanilar. — The church was dedicated to St. Hilary,, 
who flourished in the 6th century. The parish contains 
two hamlets, bearing the names Llanilar Uchaf (higher),, 
and Llanilar Isaf (lower). 

Llanina. — The church was dedicated to Ina, King of 
the West Saxons. 

Llanllwchaiarn. — ^Llwchhaiarn was a saint of the- 
7th century. lolo MSS give him the honour of having 
founded many churches, among which the above is named. 

Llanllyr. — Llyr Merini flourished about the end 
of the 5th century, and founded a church and nunnery 
at the above place. 

Llanrhystyd. — The church was dedicated to Rhystyd^ 
a descendant of Hywel ap Emyr Llydaw, who flourished 
in the 6th century. 


Llansantffraid. — The common opinion is that the 
church was dedicated to Sanffraid, but we are inclined to 
think it was dedicated to St. Ffraid, who was called 
Bridget or Bride, a celebrated Irish saint. 

Llanwenog. — St. Gwenog, son of Gildas, is recorded 
to have founded the church. 

Llanwndws. — St. Gwynws founded the church in 
the 6th century. 

Llanwnen. — The church is supposed to have been 
dedicated to St. Gwnen. 

Llechryd. — Lhch, a stone ; rhyi, a ford, a stream. 
This place is generally pointed out as the scene of a 
terrible engagement that took place between Rhys ap 
Tewdwr and the three sons of Bleddyn ap Cynfyn, in 1087, 
in which the sons of Bleddyn were defeated and two of 
them slain on the field. In course of time it is thought a 
stone was raised here in memory of Rhiryd, one of 
Bleddyn's sons. Some think the name is derived from 
the river being seamed with ledges of rock. 

Llwyndafydd. — Llwyn, bush ; Dafydd, David ; from 
an ancient house in the place, which belonged to Dafydd 
ab leuan, and where he entertained the Earl of Richmond 
or his way to Bosworth field. 

Merthyr Cyflefyr. — Mevthyr, martyr ; Cyfiefyy, 
name of a descendant of Brychan, who is supposed to have 
been murdered at a place ever since called after his name. 

MocHROS. — Moch, pigs ; rhos, a meadow, a moor. 
Tradition says that St. Dyfrig was warned in this place 
by an angel to build a church in the name of the Trinity, 
where he would see a white sow lying with her sucklings ; 
hence the name. 


MoRFA. — ^"fhe name signifies a marsh, a sea-coast. 

Mydyreilin. — ^The name, probably, means the eilin 
(arm) of the river Mudyr. Penelin is the Welsh for elbow. 
The crooked course of the river here reminds the observer 
very vividly of a man holding his arm in a sling. Mydyr 
is a corrupt form of Mudyr, the silent water. Mydroilyn 
is the official spelling. 

Nantcwnlle. — Nant, brook ; Cwnlle is probably a 
corruption of Cunllo, an eminent British saint of the 5th 
century. The parish is intersected by the brook, and the 
-church If dedicated to C^mllo. 

Nanteirw. — Nant, brook, a glen ; eirw-eirwy, a foaming 
cataract. Some think that eirw is a corrupt form of aeron, 
•summer fruits, so called on account of the abundance of 
these fruits on the banks of the rivulet. Perhaps eirw 
is a mutated form of garw, c.f. Nant Garw. 

Newchurch. — It was anciently called Llanfihangel- 
y-Creuddyn-Uchaf. The present name was derived from the 
fact that Col. Thos. Johns, Hafod Uchtryd, built a new 
church here in 1803. 

Penddol. — Pen, top ; dol, meadow, signifying a 
place at the top or head of a meadow. 

Penllwyn. — Pen, head, top ; Hwyn, bush, grove. 

Penrhiwbal. — Pen, top ; rhiw, slope ; hal, promin- 
ence. Bal is a general term applied to those mountains 
that terminate in a peak. 

Penrhylog. — Pen, head top ; rhylog, according to 
some, is a contraction oiyr-haleg, salty place. We rather 
think it to be rhyllog, the name in full signifying a high 
place full of clefts. 



Penrhyncoch. — Penrhyn, headland ; coch, red, so 
called from the hue of the soil of the land. Coch in many- 
place-names means sun-parched. 

Pentref Taliesin. — Pentref, a village ; Taliesin, 
the name of the chief of the Welsh bards. His sepulture 
took place near the village. 

Penybryn. — The name, which signifies the head or 
top of the hill, is derived from the situation of the church 
on the summit of a hill overlooking the sea. Sometimes 
the parish is called Llanfihangel Penybryn from the dedica- 
tion of the church to St. Michael. 

Penyparc. — Pare means an enclosed piece of lard. 
In the southern counties it is synonjonous wth cae, a field. 
Penyparc, therefore, means the end of a field. Pare is 
a word of Norman origin. 

PoNTARFYNACH. — The name signifies the bridge over 
the river Mynach, which it is suppcsed was named after 
ore of the monks of the Strata Florida Abbey. It is s?id 
that the under arch was thrown across by the monks of 
Strata Florida about the year 1087, but tradition insists 
upon ascribing the feat to his satanic majesty, hence the 
name— The Devil's Bridge. The tradition runs thus — 
" An old woman in search of her strayed cow saw her 
on the opposite side of the cleft rock, and in this lamentable 
case the devil appeared, sympathised with her deeply, 
and offered to accommodate her with a bridge over the 
chasm, if she would suffer him to take the first who passed 
over it. Reflecting that as she must be ruined in one 
case, she could not be ruined in the other, she desperately 
compUed. A bridge instantly arose. What a situation ! 
Her cow was dear to her and valuable ; but self-preserva- 


tion was an impulse superior to every other consideration. 
Fortunately, however, she had a dog, and in her pocket 
a piece of bread. A glorious thought occurred of saving 
herself and cow by the sacrifice of her cur. She took 
the piece of bread from her pocket and threw it on the 
other side. Her dog started over the bridge to seize it. 
Satan looked peevishly askance, galled at the thought 
of being outwitted by an old woman, hung his tail and 
walked off." 

PONTERWYD. —PoM^, bridge ; Erwyd, a pole, a handrail. 

PoNTRHYDFENDiGAiD. — Pont, bridge, rhyd, ford, 
bendigaid, blessed. Meyrick calls it Ventre Rhydfendigaid. 
The name, evidently, is a relic of monastic times. The 
blessed celebrities of the monastery at Strata Florida 
were wont to cross a certain ford in the river, where they 
invoked the blessings of the blessed virgin. We have no 
historical proof that the monks built the bridge that spans 
the ford. It appears that it was built in the days of 
Edward Richard, the founder of Ystrad Meurig school. 
The bridge caused a great dispute between the parishes 
of Gwnws and Caron, which is depicted in two humorous 
poems composed by Edward Richards. 

PoNTRHYDYGROES. — Pont, bridge ; rhyd, ford ; y, 
the ; groes, cross. 

Rhiwarthen. — Rhiw, slope, decUvity ; Arthen, ac- 
cording to some, is the name of a king or lord of 
■Ceredigion, who died in 804, but we rather think it is a 
clipped form of garthen, a camp or battle. 

Rhuddlan. — A compound of rhudd, red ; and glan, 
a bank, a sacred enclosure, church. 


Rhydmanteg. — Rhyd, ford ; man, place, spot ; teg, 

Rhyd-Pennant. — Pennant means the end of the 

Sarnau. — This name is the plural form of sarn, 
paved road, causeway, so called from the remains of 
several paved roads across a bog in the district. 

Strata Florida. — Strata, paved road. The Roman 
strata became the Saxon street. Florida, abounding 
with flowers. Some maintain that the abbey was dedi- 
■cated to Fflur, the daughter of Mygnach Gorr, but the sup- 
position is unsupported by historical fact. An eye- 
witness wrote, a few years ago, anent the famous place — 
"" even now the adjacent peat land is covered with heath 
flowers. As we were travelhng over it, reaching Tregaron 
about sunset, we gazed on the scene, and the whole 
extensive plain blushed as it bathed in a sea of purple." 
This is the Westminster Abbey of Mediaeval Wales. The 
Abbey was built cirea 1184, and founded by Rhys ab 
Gruffydd. The remains of a number of Welsh princes 
are supposed to lie here. 

SwYDDFFYNON. — Swydd here means jurisdiction. 
In ancient times the law court of the commot of 
Mefenydd was held here, perhaps near a celebrated 
well, called Ffynnon oer, cold well. 

Talsarn. — Tal, end ; sarn, road ; from a branch of 
a Roman road which terminated here. 

Traeth Saith. — Traeth, sands, seashore ; Saith 
is erronerously referred by some to Seithynyn, famous in 
Welsh mythology. Saith here is from L. sanctus, and 
means the sacred shore. 


Trefilan. — The church was dedicated to Elen 
the mother of Constantine the Great ; therefore, Ilan 
is a xnutation of Elen. Eglwys Ilan, Glaraorgan, bears 
her name. 

Treflyn. — A compound of tref, a place, a town ; 
and llyn, a lake. The place takes its name from a 
beautiful lake called Llyn y maes, the lake of the field, 
which, according to tradition, covers the original site of 

Tregaron. — ^The church was dedicated to Bishop 
Caron, and the place is named in honour of him. 

Tremaen. — Tre, place ; maen, stone ; its literal 
signification being " the town of the stone," so called 
from the noted stone, Llech yr ast, and the adjacent 
cistfaens near the village. 

Troedyraur. — Troed, foot, base, lower part. Troed- 
ybryn, the lowest part of the hill. Piedmont has the 
same signification, from It, pie di monte, foot of the 
mountain, so called from its situation. Yr, the ; aur, 
probably wrongly-spelt for air, bright, clear. If we 
adopt the termination air, the name means the base- 
ment of a hill, from which a clear view may be had of 
the surrounding district. Some derive the name from 
the tradition that aur gold was discovered at the foot of 
the hill. It appears that the ancient name of the church 
was Tredeyrn, the king's town, from the supposition that 
Owain ab Hywel Dda, the king of Ceredigion, some time 
took up his abode in the vicinity. Llys Owain, Owen's 
court, the ruins of which are still discernible, about a 
quarter of a mile from the church, inclines us to think that 
Tredeyrn is the correct name of this place. 


Tynyswydd. — Ty, house ; yn, in ; y, the ; swydd, 
jurisdiction. The house, from which the village takes 
its name, was probably situated at the extreme end of the 
Mefenydd judicature. 

YsBYTTY YsTWYTH. — Ysbyiiy, is a hybrid from Latin 
hospitum hospitality, and Welsh ty, a house. This Roman 
CathoUc Alms-house was built on the banks of the river 
Ystwyth, and so called in order to distinguish it from 
ysbytty Cynfyn, and ysbytty ystrad Meurig. 

YsTRAD Meurig. — Ystrad, a low, flat valley. Meurig 
is recorded to have been killed at ,i place where a church 
was dedicated to him. " Meyryg, son of Meirchion w is a 
brave, far-famed king. In his time the Irish Picts came 
to Cambria ; he, however, marched against them, drove 
them away, or slew them ; but was killed by an Irishman 
concealed in a wood, since called Meyryg." lolo 
MSS., p. 352. 

YsTUMTUEM. — Ystum, a bend, a shape, a form ; Tuem 
the xiame of the river that flows through the place. 


Carmarthen is an Anglicised form of Caerf jrrddin . 
The Welsh Chronicle derives the name fiom Myrdin, the 
pseudo-prophet and bard, and many are the traditions 
that boldly but absurdly support the derivation. History 
rejects the popular etymology by stating that the town 
was called " Maridunum " by the Romans, during and after 
the Roman subjugation, long ere the prophet was born. 
The Kaervyrddin of the Britons is the " Maridunum," 
the city by the sea of Ptolemy, and the " Maridunum," 
the walled city of Antonius. Some think that the Latin 
name is a translation of the Welsh one, and derive the 
latter thus : Caer, fortress, wall ; fyr, a mutation of 
mor-myr, the sea ; din-ddin, a hill, signifying a fortified 
hill upon or near the sea. Others maintain that Caer- 
myrdin, the ruinous city is the true derivation, some 
write thus — Caer-fyrd-dyn, the citadel of ten thousand. 
We are inclined to think that " Maridunum " is the correct 
etymology, and that the Welsh caer was prefixed to it, 
and hence transmuted to its present form — Caerfyrddin. 

Aberarad. — Aber, estuary ; arad, the name of the 
river on which the village is situated, so called, perhaps, 
from its resemblance to an aradr, plough. Arad is the 
popular pronunciation of aradr. 

Aberbran. — ^This place takes its name from the river 

Abercouyn. — Cowyn or Cywyn, the river-name, means 
a rising or swelling up ; the popular word cwnu, rising, 
comes from the verb cywynu, to rise, mount up. Cog- 
nate with Latin scando, I mount. 


Aberduar. — Aberdyar is the right wording, pro- 
bably from its situation on the river Dyar, which means 
a noise, a sound, a din. 

Du-ar may signify water running over black soil. 

Abergorlech. — Gorlech, the river-name, probably, 
is a mutation of Garw-lech, garw, rough ; lech^llech, 
stone, or from cor, small, and llwch, water, lake. 

Abergwili. — Gwili, the river-name, is a derivative 
of Gwyllt, wild ; and lli, a flux, signifying wild water. Some 
derive it from gwy, water, and lli, a flux. This village 
retains the honour of being the residence of the Bishop of 
St. David's. 

Above-Sawddwy. — The village derives its name 
from the river Sawddwy, on which it is situate. Sawd 
implies depth, a sinking ; gwy is water but more probably 
wy is here an adjectival termination, and the meaning 
water is fanciful. 

Ammanford. — The ancient name of the place was 
Cross Inn, from a public house of that name, which 
is situated at the junction of four roads. Some think that 
Amman, the river-name, is a compound of ami, many, 
and an or ain, water, signifying a river of many tributaries 
or sources. Others think the root is ban, height. Perhaps 
it is' derived from Amon, Amnis. The word for river in 
Gaelic, is abhainn, and amhain is an ancient form of 
afon, a river. 

Bancyfelin. — ^Bank, any steep acclivity, as one 
rising from a river, a lake, or the sea ; y, the ; jelin- 
melin, mill. 

Brechfa. — ^A hilly place. Brech is fem. of brych, 
mottled, a doublet of brith c.f. Cefnbrith. 


Brynamman. — It was sometime called Gwter Fawr^ 
the big ditch. In 1838, a house in the place was called 
Brynamman, and in 1864, when the railway came into the- 
place, the station was called Brjmamman, hence the name 
of the village. For Aman see Ammanford. 

Bryn Gwyne. — Bryn, hill ; Gwinnau, intensified form 
of gze7M, white, blessed. Gwyndud,a. happy land, or per- 
haps for gwinau — reddish colour of bracken. 

Brynhafod. — Hafod, means a summer-house, 
which was generally built on a hill. 

Brynybeirdd. — ^This place derives its name from an 
ancient farmhouse in the vicinity called Cwrt-bryn-y-beirdd^ 
from the supposition that it was once the residence of the 

BuRRY Port. — ^The place adjoins the ancient village 
of Pemhre or Pen-bre. Pen, head, top, bre, mountain, 
high place. 

Some think Burry is a compound of bur, wild, frothy ; 
and gwy, water. Burym, barm is derived from the same 
root. The rivei Berem is not far from the place. Another 
attempt is &re, hill ; /)or</», port. Buriy is probably from 
burgh, a hill, compare Burythorpe in Yorkshire. 

The seaport is situated at the entrance of the river 

BwLCHGWYNT. — Bwlch, an opening, a pass ; guynt, 
wind ; signifying a pass where the wind occasion ally 
asserts its power very vehemently. 

Caledfwlch. — Caled, hard, severe ; bwlch, an open- 
ing, a p iss. Tradition has it that bloody wars were fought 
in the viciaity, and 1hat the distress and calimity was so 
great at a certain spot, that it was henceforth called Caled- 


fwlch. A brook in the place is called Nantgoch red brook, 
irom the traditional belief that it was sometime red with 

Capel Isaac. — A noted place in connection with the 
•Congregational body, since the year 1650, when the Rev. 
Stephen Hughes, formerly the vicar of Meidrym, left the 
Church of England and founded a Nonconformist church. 
Suffering from persecution they took refuge in a cave for 
a short time, and afterwards built a chapel in 1672 on the 
land of Isaac Thomas, hence the name, Capel Isaac. 

Capel Iwan. — Capel, chapel ; Iwan, Ivan, loan, 
John, meaning John the Baptist. 

Capel Paulin. — Capel, chapel ; Paulin, a mutation 
•of Pawl Hen, St.Paulinus, who flourished in the 5th century. 

Cefncethin. — ^A village in the parish of Llandilo.' 
The common opinion of the inhabitants is that the place 
took its name from an eminent poet, named Cethin, who 
lived in the neighbourhood in the i6th century. Cefn, 
a high ridge ; cethin, dark, frightful, terrible. 

Cenarth. — Cen, low Celtic for pen, head or top ; arth- 
garth, a. ridge, a hill. 

Cenol. — ^The name, which signifies " middle " was 
given to this hamlet because it comprises the middle part 
of the parish of Llanschyl. 

Cerryg Sawdde. — The place derives its name 
from the river Sawdde that flows through it. Sawdde is a 
corrupt form of sawdd-wy, the deep or plunging water: 
One of the old inhabitants assured us that the first row 
of houses in the village were built of stones conveyed from 
the river Sawdde, hence the name. 


CiLCARw. — Cil, a place of retreat ; carw, stag. In time 
of yore stags resorted to this sequestered vicinity as a place 
of refuge. 

CiLCWM. — ^The name signifies a sequestered vale : the 
upper reaches of the valley, or the ridge overlooking 
the valley. 

CiLMAENLLWYD. — Cil, a place of retreat ; maen,. 
stone ; llwyd, grey, blessed ; so called from the relics of 
druidical stones in the place. 

Cloygyx. — The right wording, probably, is clogwyn, 
a precipice. 

Cross Hands. — From a public house so called in the- 

Crugybar. — Crug, heap ; lar, affliction, fury, wrath. 
The place derives its names from the supposition that the 
Rortians buried their fallen soldiers in the vicinity, where 
they suffered heavily at the hands of the wrathful and 
formidable Britons, led by the immortal Buddug. 

CwMAMAN. — CieJOT, narrow vale ; Aman vide Amman- 

CwMCOTHi. — ^The river-name Cothi means to eject 
or evacuate ; ysgothi, to babble. The Greek Kathariso 
has a similar meaning. Dolaucothi is the seat of the 
Johnses, a well-known family in the county of Carmarthen 
and close by was the residence of the celebrated bard,. 
Llywelyn (Lewis) Glyn Cothi, who flourished in the 15th 

CWmcuch. — A village situate on the banks of the 
river Cuch. Cuch means what is contracted or drawn, 
together. Cuchio, to frown. 



CwMDUAD. — Duad implies blackness. The river 
Drmd flows through the vale. 

CwM GwENDRAETH. — Cwm, vale ; Gwendraeth, the 
name of the river that runs through the vale. Gwen, white; 
traeth, a tract, a beach. 

CwMHWPLiN. — Hwplin is an etymological puzzle. 
The name is probably from Cwm, vale, and hwplin, 
representing the English word — goblin. 

CwMSARNDDU. — Cwm, vale ; sarn, paved road ; ddu, 
black, from a farm so named. 

Cynwil Caio. Cyn, prior, iirst ; wil-gwyl, (vigilia) 
watches ; Caio, Caius, the name of a Roman personage. 
The Rev. EUeser Williams, in the " Cambrian Register," 
thinks that the place was taken possession of by Caius' 
advanced guards. 

Dafen. — From the river Da fen, which flows through 
the place. The name may be a corrupt form of taf-ain, 
the spreading water. Tafwys, the Thames, has the 
same signification. 

Drafach. — Tref, a homestead, town ; fach-bach, 

Drefelin. — ^Some think the name is a compound of 
iref, a homestead, and melin, a mill. In spite of the fact 
that there is a mill in the village some are inclined to think 
that the name is a transposition of fileindref, the villeins' 
village, or a place under villein soccage tenure. In the 
old Welsh Laws we find taeogdref and fileindref. 

Dyffryn CeidrYCH. — Dy-ffryn, a valley ; cei-cain, 
clear, fair, beautiful ; drych, aspect, sight ; the name 
signifies a valley of beautiful sceneries. Some think the 
valley was named after Ceindrych, a daughter of Brychan. 


Felindre. — A mill residence. 

Felincwm. — ^A compound of melin, mill ; and 
cwm, vale. 

Felinwen. — This village takes its name from an old 
mill called Felinwen, the white mill, which is still in the 

Ferry Side. — ^A pretty village near the mouth of the 
river Towy, where passengers ferry over in boats to the 
opposite village, Llanstephan. 

Ffairfach. — ^A very popular fair was wont to be 
held here on November 22nd, hence its name, which 
signifies the little fair, to distinguish it from the fairs held at 
Llandilo . 

Garway. — It may be a corruption of garw-wy, a 
river making its way through rough places. 

Gelliceidrym. — ^The name signifies a brush or grove 
on mountain top with a chasm below. 

Goytrey. — Coed, wood ; tre, a homestead, a place, 
signifying either a dwelling in a wood, or a house built of 

GwYNFE. — Gwyn, white, blessed, holy ; fe-fai, an 
inflection of mai, a plain. Gwynfa is the Welsh for Para- 

Hengoed. — Wen, old, aged ; and coed, wood, so 
called from the abundance of ancient and large forests of 
wood that once adorned the district. 

Henllan Amgoed. — ^The old church surrounded by 

HoREB. — ^The village takes its name from Horeb, 
the Baptist chapel in the place. 


Hyreth. — ^A corruption of Hiraeth, longing earnest 
■desire or perhaps a mutation of hyriaeth, a shock, a concus- 

Johnstown. — A small village near Carmarthen town 
named in honour of Mr. John Jones, Ystrad. 

Kidwelly. — We have various forms of this ancient 
name. Nennius gives the name as Cetqueli, and this form 
is found also in " Liber Landavensis." The following 
lorms are found in ancient documents — ^Kedewelli, 
Cedewely, Kadewely, Keddewelly, Kedwelli, Kydewelly. 
Dr. Henry Owen says that the place was in Welsh called 
Cedweli, or Cadweli, and that the name is a tribal, one 
derived from the personal name Cadwal. Some derive 
it thus — cyd, con ; wy-gwy, water ; and li-lli, a stream, 
the name signifying the , confluence of streams, or two 
streams of water joining to run on the same bed. The 
rivers Gwendraeth Fach and Gwendraeth Fawr, mingle 
their waters in an estuary about a mile from the town. 
One author states that the Gwendraeth originally bore the 
name of Gwely, which is, perhaps, a corrupt form of Gwili, 
%wy, water ; and lli, a flux, the name therefore signifying 
the junction of the two flowing streams. 

Laugharne. — ^The old Welsh names are Talycoran, 
Abercoran, Tal-Uacham, Tal, ejid ; y, the ; Goran, the 
name of the river that flows into the river Taf. Some 
■derive the present name from Field-Marshal, W. 
Laugharne, but we rather think it is an Anglicised form of 
Llacharn or Talycoran. Goran may be an abbreviation 
of corafon, a rivulet. 

Login. — Some think the name is a contracted four. 
■of Halogyn, the polluted or turbid. Others derive 
the name from clogwyn, precipice, steep. Glogwynog, 


craggy, rocky. Perhaps the right wording is Llogyn, a 
diminutive of Llog, a compact, a hire. Llog o dir, twenty 
yards of land. We find the name Loggin in Breconshire.. 

Llan. — ^This hamlet takes its name from the parochial 
church being situate within its limits, near the right bank 
of the Gwendraeth Fechan river. 

Llanarthney. — Arthney is probably a corruption of 
garthen, a camp. Some think Arthney is a corrupt form of 
A rthen, the name of the fourth son of Brychan Brycheiniog 
There are several objects of antiquarian interest in this 
district, such as the ruins of Dryslwyn castle, and Grongar 
hill, which has been immortaUsed by the famous poet, 
Dyer. Grongar is a compound of gron, fern, of crwn, round,, 
circular, and caer, a fortress. 

Llanboidy. — Some think the name is a corruption 
of Llan-bod-Dewi, the church in which (St.) David dwelt. 
The church is only three miles north of Ty Gwyn Abbey,, 
near which place St. David spent ten years. Others say 
it is Llan-meudwy, a church, dedicated to a hermit. We 
are inclined to think that boidy is a corruption of beudy, 
an ox house. The church might have been built in con- 
junction with the ox-house ; or perhaps, the oxen had to- 
perform the same duties there as their kindred at Brevi. 

Llandefeisent. — Tyfei Sant, a nephew of St. Teilo, 
lived in an early period of the 6th century, and to him the 
church was dedicated. 

Llandeilo.— The church was dedicated to St. Teilo, 
a descendant of Cunedda Wledig and one of the most popu- 
lar saints in the ancient British church. He was St. 
Teliaus, the patron saint of Llandaff. He departed this 
lif-^. at Llandeilo Fawr, and was interred at Llandaff in 566.- 


Llandovery. — An Anglicised form oiLlanymddyfri, 
which means i church between waters, or Llanamddyfri ; 
am, in its sense of beyond, and therefore the church 
beyond the river. The " Myvyrian " calls it 
Llanymddywy. The town is situate on the river 
Towy, at the confluence of the rivers Gwytherig and Bran, 
the latter joning the Towy a little distance below the 
town. This town is famous as the birth-place and resi- 
dence of Vicar Pritchard, author of " Canwyll y Cymry." 

Llandybie. — Tybie was a daughter of Brychan, and 
a saint of the 5th century. She was murdered at a place 
where a church was afterwards built and consecrated to 
her memory. 

Llandyfaelog. — ^The church was dedicated to Maelog 
one of Catw;;'s disciples. The proper name is Llanmaelog. 

Llandyfaen. — Some derive the name from St. Dyfan 
who came here from Rome about 186, to preach the Gospel 
to tlie Kymry. It is believed he was martyred at Merthyr 
Dyfan. We rather think the place takes its name from 
Dyfnan, one of the sons of Brychan. 

Llandysilio. — ^The church was dedicated to St. 

Llanddarog. — ^The church was dedicated to St. 

Llandowror. — ^A corruption of Llandyfrgwyr, the 
church of the water-men, so called on account of the 
seven sons of Mainaur Mathru, who were called Dyfrgwyr, 
water-men, because they were found in the water, escaped 
from the water and Were maintained by fishes of the 
water. They devoted themselves to religious life ; hence 
the above church was dedicated to them. 


Llanedi. — The church was dedicated to Edyih a 
Saxon saint. There were five Saxor saints bearing the 

Llanegwad. — ^The church was dedicated to Egwad, 
a saint of the 7th century. He was son of Cynddelig, son of 
Cenydd, son of Gildas. 

Llanelli. — ^The church was dedicated to Ellyw, a 
■descendant of Brychan, and a saint of the fifth century. 
Llanelliw is the proper name. On a map published in 1788 
by a Mr. Wm. Owen, it is spelt Llanelliw. 

Llanfair-ar-y-bryn. — St. Mary's church on the hill 
It was a site of a Roman station. 

Llanfihangel Aberbythych. — St. Michael's church 
at the influx of the river Bythich. The river-name means 
the constantly flowing water. 

Llanfihangel-ar-arth. — Ar-Arth, or ar-y-g 
mems on the hill. The church was dedicated to St. 
Michael, and built on a hill above the Teivi. 

Llanfihangel Rhosycorn. — St. Michael's church 
on the berry-moor-land. It appears that the place 
produces hurtle and billberries. 

Llanfrynach.— The church was dedicated to St. 
Brynach, whose history, according to some is marked 
by somewhat remarkable incidents. 

Llanfynydd. — ^The name signifies a church on the 

Llangadog.— The church was dedicated to St. Cadoc, 
a martyr who flourished in the 5th century, and died in 
Brittany, in -(90. 


Llangain. — Cain was a saint of the early part of 
the bth century, to whom the church was dedicated. 

Llangan. — The church wis dedicated to Cana, the 
daughter of Tewdwr Mawr, and the wife of Sadwrn. 

Llangathen. — The church was dedicated to Cathen, 
a Welsh saint who flourished early in the 7th centuiy. 
He was a grandson to Caradog Freichfras. 

Llangeler. — The church was dedicated to St. Celert, 
who flourished in the 7th century. Beddgelert bears 
his name. 

In a cottag5, called Tybedw, in this parish, two of the 
most celebrated preachers of Wales commenced to preach, 
viz , Revs. Dd. Davies, Swansea, and Christmas Evans. 

Llangennech — ^The church was dedicated to St. 

Llangyndeyrn. — ^The church was dedicated to St. 
Cyndeyrn, one of the most popular of the Welsh saints 
of the 7th century. 

Llangynin. — The church was dedicated to Cynin, a 
saint of the 5th century. 

Llangynog. — ^The church was founded by Cynog, 
who was bishop of St. David's in the sixth century. 

Llanllian. — ^The correct wording is Llanlleian, the 
Nun's church. It is said that she was the daughter 
of Brychan, and had been wife to Gafran ab Dyfnwal 
Hen, by whom she had Aeddan, the traitor. 

Llanllwch. — Llwch, an inlet of water, a lake. The 
church is situated in a low place, which is frequently 
covered by floods and the tide, leaving many pools 
an d lakes behind them. Tradition has it that a town once 
stood here, which was submerged. 


Llanllwni. — ^Llwni is a corruption of lloni, to 
gladden. Llonio Llawhir (long hand) was a descendant of 
Emyr Llydaw, and is supposed to have founded the 
churches of Llandinam and Llanllwni. 

Llannewydd. — The old parish church was pulled 
•down, and the foundation stone of Llannewydd, the new 
church, was laid, July 5th, 1870. 

Llanon. — The church was dedicated to Nonn, the 
pious mother of St. David, the patron saint of Wales. 

Llanpumsaint. — Pum saint^five saints. The 
church was dedicated to five brothers, Ceitho, Gwyn, 
Gwynro, Gwynoro, and Celynin, who were born at the 
same tim.e and devoted themselves to religious life. 

Llansadwrn. — ^The church was dedicated to 
Sadwrn, the brother of lUtud. 

Llansadyrnyn. — ^The church was dedicated to 
Sadyrnyn, the Bishop of St. David's in the early part 
•of the 9th century. 

Llansawyl. — ^The church was dedicated to Sawyl, 
a saint of the 8th century. 

Llanstephan. — ^The church was founded by Ystyffan, 
a saint and bard of the 6th century. Some derive the 
name from the supposition that the church was dedi- 
cated to Stephen, the first martyr. 

Llanwrda. — Opinions differ as to whom the church 
was dedicated. One suggests St. Cawrdaf, a son of 
Caradog Freichfras ; another, gwy-tia, the holy man. Some 
think gwr-da is a corrupt form of gwr-daf, the man of the 
Taf, refering to St. Teilo who lived on the banks of the 
river Taf for many years, and believed to have performed 
many miracles. 


Llanwynio. — ^The church is supposed to have been 
•dedicated to Gwynio, a Welsh saint. 

Llanybri. — Bri, is, according to one writer, a corrup- 
tion of heyr, the Norse for farmstead. Some think the 
name is derived from one Awbrey, who resided there. We 
rather think that hri is a mutation of Ire, up high. 

Llanybydder. — Some think the right wording is 
LlanyhyMair, the church of the Ambuscade. The name 
may be a corruption of Llanbedr, from the church being 
•dedicated to St. Peter. 

Llanycrwys. — The name signifies the Rood church. 

Llwynhendy. — Llwyn, bush ; hendy, old house. 
There was a bush near an old homestead called Hendy, 
concerning which a local dispute arose, and in order to 
•distinguish it from other bushes it was called Llwyn-hendy . 

Machynys. — ^An islet at the estuary of the Loughor 
river. Some think the name is a mutation of bach-ynys, 
the little island, but in view of the fact that a mynach-dy, 
a monastery was established here in 513 by St. Piro, we are 
inclined to think the name might be an abbreviation of 
mynach-ynys, the monk's island. Or, perhaps, it is a 
compound of mach, a bail, a surety ; and ynys, an island. 
Some think it was sometime held as a surety for debt. 

Manorfabon. — Some think the original form is 
Man-ar-afon, a spot or a residence on or near the river. 
We rather think the name is a compound of maenor, manor, 
and Mabon, proper name. Mabon is sometimes used to 
denote a young hero. 

Marros. — ^Some think it is mawr-rhos, the great 
moorland or common. The name signifies a wild, moun- 


tainous region, which was undoubtedly suggested by the 
physical aspect of the district. 

Meinciau. — A corruption, probably of min-y-cae, 
edge of the field. Some think it is the plural of mainc,. 
a bench, implying elevated pieces of land. 

Moelfre. — Moel, bare ; and bre, hill. 

Mydrim. — ^A compound of mei-mai, a plain or open 
field ; drum, a ridge, a back, a hill. 

A Roman road ran through the place from Car- 
marthen to St. David's. 

Myddfai. — Myd-med, meadow ; fai-mai, a plain, 
or open field. The place is noted for its celebrated phy- 
sicians in the 12th century. Meddygon Myddfai the phy- 
sicians of Myddfai is a proverbial phrase. The first batch 
of these were Rhiwallon, and his sors, Cadwgan, Gruffydd, 
and Einion. 

Mynachdy. — A monastery. It is supposed that 
a cell to some ancient abbey was situated here sometime ; 
hence the name. 

NANTGAREDTG.-iVan/', brook ; Caredig, a man's name. 

Nantycaix. — Nant, brook ; cain, clear, fair. 

Nantymwyn. — Mwyn, mine, ore. Lead mines 
abound in this district. 

Newcastle-Emlyn. — Opinions differ as to the 
origin of this name. It is a translation of the Welsh 
Castell-newydd-Emlyn. The present castle was built 
on the site of the old one by Sir Rhys ap Thomas, in 
the reign of Henry VIII., hence the appellation 
Newcastle. Emlyn is variously derived. Some derive 
it from Emilianus, the name of a Roman nobleman that 


took up his abode here. Others derive it from the 
shape (llun) of the letter M formed by the winding 
course of the Teivi ir the vicinity of Newcastle, thus 
M lun, shape of the letter M. The most plausible are 
the following derivations : — Em, am, round about ; lyn 
glynu, to adhere, to cleave. The river encompasses the 
town, and its slowness indicates, as it were, for 
preference to adhere to the town than make for its 
salty home. Another attempt : Emyl, border or edge 
add the particle yn to it, and then we have Emylyn, 
omit the first y, and we have Emlyn, a borderer. Or 
Em, round, lyn, llyn, a lake or a body of water, 
signifying watercircled. 

Pantyffynon. — Pant, a low place ; y, the ; ffynnon, 
well ; from a farm so called which is situated in a low 

Pedair Heol. — Pedair, four ; heol, road, so called 
from the junction of four roads in the place. 

Penbeyr or Penboyr. — Opinions differ as to 
derivation of this name. Some think it is a mutilation of 
■pen-y-beirdd, the chief of the bards from the supposition of 
some chief bard held his gorsedd here. 

Others derive it thus : — pen, top, end ; beyr and boyr 
are Norse for farmstead ; signifying the highest point in a 
certain farm. 

The name was written Penbeyr in 1487, Penbeir 
and Penbeyer in 1668, and Penbeyre in 1788. 

Ey would easily become oy, in that district, as 
oulun from eulun. 

The church is called Penboyr in Valor Ecclesiasticus. 
Beyr or Boyr, is probably a personal name. A farmstead 


near Penboyr is called Llwyn Pyr. The name is also 
found in the parish of Llanllwni. 

Pyr succeeded Sawyl Ben Uchel on the throne of 

Pencader. — Some think it was originally called 
Pencadlys ; pen, head ; cad, battle, battlefield ; lys, court. 
Near the church there is a cairn called " The Castle, and 
from that the common inference is that some battles were 
fought in the vicinity. Others think the name signifies 
the chief chair, possibly of the bards — Druidic order. 
There is an immense tumulus here. Cader also means 
a stronghold. Many fortified hills and moun- 
tains still retain the name as Cader Idris, Cader Dinmael. 
Cadernid is the Welsh for strength or fortitude. 

Pendine. — Some think the right wording is Pen-dani, 
the beautiful summit. It may be a corrupt form of Pen- 
din, the top of the fortified hill. 

Penrhiwgoch. — Pen, top ; rhiw, slope ; goch^coch, 
red, sun-parched. The attribute coch forms a part of many 
names in the district, as Garreg-goch, red stone ; Ffynnon- 
goch, ruddy well, &c. 

Penrhos. — ^The top of a meadow or plain. 

Penygroes. — Pen, head, end ; y, the ; groes, cross. 

Pontaman. — Pont, bridge ; aman, the name of the 
river that flows through the place (vide Ammanford). 
The village takes its name from a mansion so called, 
which is situate on the river Aman. 

Pontargothi.— Po«/, bridge ; ar, on, across ; Gothi- 
cothi, the name of the river (vide Cwmcothi). 

Pontbrenaraeth. — Ponthren, a wooden bridge ; 
araeih, the name of the river. 


PoNTHENRY. — Pofit, bridge ; Henry, probably the 
name of the builder of the bridge. 

PoNTNEWYDD. — Pont, bridge ; newydd, new. 

PoNTTWELi. — ^The latter portion of the name is 
variously written, viz., Twelly, Tyweli, Tywely, Taf-gurli, 
and Taf-wely. The name seems to be a contraction of the 
latter form, which is the name of the river that runs 
under the bridge. 

PoNTYATES. — The village was originally called Tre- 
wiail, the place of rods. Opinions differ as to Pontyates. 
Pont, means a bridge, which, according to some, was built 
by a Mr. Yates ; hence the name. 

In olden times there was a toll-gate near the brid'g^, 
and some think the name is derived from that. 

PoNTYBEREM. — Pont, bridge ; Berem, river-name. 
The general opinion is that a wooden bridge crossed the 
Berem river before the Gwendraeth bridge was built ; 
hence the name. 

Berem comes from herw, a boiling, an ebullition. 
Sion Lam Roger, about 190 years ago, called the place 

PoRTHYRHYD. — Porth, (porta), a gate ; y, the ; 
rhyd, a ford. 

Pump Heol. — Pump, five ; heol, road ; so called from 
the junction of five roads in the place. 

Rhandirmwyn. — Rhandir, a portion of land, a 
•district ; mwyn, a mine, ore. There are ancient lead 
mines in the district called Nantymwyn, which are noted 
for pottery ore. 

Rhydargaeau. — ^The right wording seems to be 
Rhydargaerau, the ford near the fortified walls. 


St. Clears. — ^The Normans, immediately after the 
conquest, built a castle and a church here, the latter 
of which was dedicated to one of their own clan named 
St. Clar. Hence the name of the place. In the " Myvy- 
rian " she is called Sain Cler and St. Clares. She died a 
martyr in Normandy, November 4th, 894. 

Talog. — ^The name signifies high-fronted, bold-faced. 
Talwg means a high house with stone roof, in contra-dis- 
tinction to the low cot with thatched roof. 

Talyllychau, or Talley. — Tal, front or end ; y, 
the ; Llychau, plural of llwch, lake or pool. There are 
two large pools near the church. Talley is an abbre- 
viation of the Welsh name. 

Terra-Coed. — It is, probably, a corruption of Tir- 
y-coed, which implies woody land. 

Tir Esgob. — Tir, land ; esgob, bishop. 

TiR Rosier. — Tir, land ; Rosier, Roger. Rogersland. 

Treclas. — CI as means a green covering or surface. 
" Clas Alerddin," the green space of smooth hills, the old 
name of the Isle of Britain. — Trioedd. 

Trelech. — Some think the name signifies " the con- 
cealed dwelling." We rather think the name signifies 
" the town of stones." Not far from the village there 
is an immense carnedd called Cnig y Deyni, or Criig Edeyrn, 
The place derives its name, probably, from this and other 
relics of Druidism in the district. Some antiquarians 
believe that Edeyrn was buried here. Nathan Dyfed, and 
another gentleman opened a cistfaen here in 1830, and 
found therein calcined bones and charcoal. 

Trerhos. — Tre, place, town ; rhos, meadow. The- 
village is situated on a marshy plain. 



Trimsaran. — ^A compound of trum, ridge, and 
sarn, road, way. The village took its name from an 
old mansion bearing the name, which is supposed to have 
been built in the nth century. Gruffydd ap Llewelyn 
resided here. He was related to Einion ap Collwyn. 

Tumble. — ^From a pubUc house in the place called 
Tumble Inn. " Tumble Down Dick " has reference to 
Richard, the Protector's son, who was a very unstable char- 

Velinfoel. — It signifies the bald or bare mill. The 
old mill near the river Lliedi was designated Felinfoel in 
order to distinguish it from Felinyrafr, or Felingyrnig, 
which was higher up on the side of the same river. The 
latter was remarkable for its comig — cross appearance, 
whereas the former was a bare building, and, therefore, 
entitled to the appellation Felinfoel. When the village 
grew sufficiently to claim a share in nomenclature it was 
decided to perpetuate the name of the old mill. 

Whitland. — A semi-translation of " Hen dy Gwyn 
ax Daf," old white house on Taf. This was the hunting- 
house of Hywel Dda, built by him in 914. In order to 
distinguish it from common houses it was built of white 
perches, supposed to be i8ft. in length. Here Hjrwel 
and six of the wisest men in his dominion met in 927, to 
revise and amend the laws of the Kymry. A religious 
■community was founded in the place as early as the 5th 
century. Paulinus (Pawl Hen) enlarged the institution 
circa 480, and was elected the first abbot. St. David and 
St. Teilo were among his students. 


An Anglicized form of Caer-yn-Arfon, the fortified; 
town opposite to Mona. After the subjugation of 
Wales under Edward I. the name of the town was applied 
to the newly-formed county. 

LLeyn. — A region, according to some, that derived 
its name from Lleyn, the son of Baran. He conquered 
this portion of the territory of the King of Gwynedd, 
and called it the country of Lleyn (lolo MSS., 346). 
The late celebrated antiquarian, Mr. Owen Wilhams, 
of Waenfawr, derives it from lleuyn, which is synony- 
mous, with llenar, lleiiad, goleuad, goleimi, signifying light, 
splendour. LUuar haul, the light of the sun. He founds 
his reasons upon the fact that Lleyn is an even country, 
enjoying the light of the sun from morning till dusk ; 
hence it was called Lleyn, the land of the hght. Dr. 
Owen Pughe translated Lleyn thus — lleyn, a strip, a 
tongue of land, which corresponds with the physical 
aspect of this part of the Principality. It is cognate 
with Irish Lein in Leinster, from an Irish word meaning 
a lance head, so called from the outline of the land. 

EiFiONYDD. — Eifion means the land of rivers. A/on, 
a river, eifion, an old plural form of afon, as meibion 
becomes the plural of mab, a son. Ap, a Sanskrit root 
signifying water, is seen in the names of the Punjab, 
the land of the five rivers ; Do-ab, a district between 
the two rivers Ganges and Jumna. We find it also in 
the river-names of the L-ah and Dan-ub-ue, or Danube. 

Aber, or Abergwyngregyn. — From the quantity 
of cockles found there. The river Gwyngregyn, white 


shells, discharges itself into the sea about half-a-mile 
below the village. 

Aberdaron. — ^The village is situate at the mouth 
of the river Daron. Although an insignificant place, it 
is famous for being the birth-place of Richard Robert 
Jones, alias Die Aberdaron, the celebrated linguist. 
He was bom in 1778, and died at St. Asaph in 1843. It is 
said that he was familiarly conversant with thirteen 
languages. The name Daron was anciently applied to 
the Deity, signifying " Thundeier." Daron implies noisy 

Abercegid. — ^Near Llandegai. Cegt'rf is the Welsh for 

Abererch. — ^The river Erch flows into the sea a 
little below the village ; hence the name. Erch means 
dark, frightful. 

Abersoch. — ^The village lies at the mouth of the 
river Soch. Soch means a sink, a drain, a ditch, so 
called from the slow course and muddy hue of the liver. 

Afon Wen. — ^This name was taken from the river, 
which has its source near Mynachdy gwyn, the white 
moucistery. Wen is the feminine form of gwyn, white, 
and in place-names signifies fair or beautiful. 

Bangor. — Ban, high, superior ; gor-cor, a circle, a 
stall, a choir. Cot is now used in many parts of the 
Principality to denote a pew or seat. The term cor has 
also been rendered " college." Bangor means the chief 
enclosure or circle, and when applied to any particular 
establishment, it signifies, a " high choir, or chief col- 
lege." The common churches were called corau, but the 
chief or superior churches bangorau, because they were 


the chief theological seminaiies of the peiiod, the centres 
from which the Christian religion extended over the country. 
It is supposed that this Bangor was established as early 
as the year 525 by Deiniol ab Dunawd, which shows that a 
University College is not a r ew boon to this city. 

Beddgelert. — Various derivations are assigned to 
this popular name. It is said that a hermit elected a 
booth in the place, and, in the couise of time, a church 
was built on the same site, ard was called Bwth Cilfach 
Garth, which was corrupted into Bwth Cilarth, and then 
Bethcelert. Some trace it to the name of Celer, the 
patron saint of Llangeler. Tradition says the name 
is derived from the following circumstance : — At a 
remote period, when wolves were numerous, and conse- 
quently formidable in Wales, Llewelyn the Great came 
to reside here for the hunting season, with his princes 
and children ; but while the family were absent one 
day, a wolf entered the house, and attempted to kill an 
infant that was enjoying his sleep in the cradle. The 
prince's faithful greyhound named Gelert, in whose 
care the child doubtless was entrusted, seized the rapa- 
cious animal, and, after a severe struggle, killed it. 
In the struggle the cradle was o\'erturned, and lay upon 
the wolf and child. On the piince's return, missing the 
infant, and observing the dog's mouth stained with blood, 
he rashly jumped to the conclusion that Gelert had Idlled 
the child, and, in a paroxysm of rage, drew his sword, and 
bulled it in the heart of the faithful animal ; but how great 
was his astonishment, when, on replacing the cradle, he 
found the wolf dead and the child alive. He, however, 
caused the faithful Gelert to be honourably interred, and, 
as a monument to his memory, erected a church on this 


spot as a grateful offering to God for the preservation of his 
child. In a field contiguous to the churchyard are two 
grey stones, overhung with bushes, which point out the 
grave of Gelert, and a rustic seat is placed near, where 
visitors may recline and meditate the legend. Others 
think the name means the " grave of Celert ap Math," 
a descendant of one of the Irish princes that visited 
this country about the beginning of the fourth cen- 

Bethesda. — Its ancient name was Cilfoden. Its 
present name is derived from Bethesda, the name of a 
Congregational chapel built in the place in 1819. An 
•attempt was recently made to abandon the Scriptural 
name, and call it " Glan Ogwen," after the new church 
built by Lord Penrhyn, but it proved unsuccessful. 

Bettws-y-Coed. — Bettws is a Welshified form of 
bead-house, a house of prayer, a monkish institution of 
mediaeval times, built, perhaps, on or near the site of 
those churches that perpetuate the name of Bettws. 
This place derives its name from an ancient religious 
institution called Bettws Wyrion Iddon, the bead house 
•of the children of Iddon. Bettws in Welsh means a 
place of shelter and comfort. William Llyn writes : — 
" Ni a ddaethom yr owan i Fettws, h3my yw, He cynhes 
tymoraidd ; " i.e., " We came now to Bettws, that is, a 
warm comfortable place." It is worthy of notice that 
many churches bearing the name of Bettws aie situated 
in sheltered and comfortable places. The above Bettws 
is situated yn y coed in the wood ; hence the name of the 
picturesque place. 

Bettws Garmon. — The church is dedicated to 
'Gannon, and about a mile distant is Garmon's Well. 


BoDFUAN. — Bod, a dwelling ; Buan, a saint of the 
seventh century, and a descendant of Llywarch Hen. 
He founded a church in this place. 

BoDFERiN. — ^This was the dwelling-place of Merin, 
a descendant of Seithenin, and a saint of the sixth cen- 

Borth-y-Gest, or more correctly, Porth-y-gest ;, 
porth, harbour, port ; y, the,; gest-cest, a deep glen 
between two mountains having but one opening. This 
isolated village is situated near Moel-y-gest. 

BoTTWNOG. — A corruption of Bodwynog, the dwel- 
ling-place of Gwynog. 

Bryncroes. — Bryn, a hill ; croes, a cross. 

Brynkir. — Some think the place was named in 
honour of a family bearing the name, who weie descen- 
dants of Owain Gwjmedd. Others think the name is a 
contraction of Bryn cae Mr, signifying a long field at the 
foot of the hill. It is, perhaps, a compound of bryn^ 
a hill, and carw, a stag. 

Cae Llwyn Grydd. — Probably a corruption of cae 
llwyn y gaer rudd. Cae, a field ; llwyn, a bush ; y, the ; 
gaer rudd, red wall. The village is situated near an old 
fortress, which is now in ruins, and supposed to have 
been built of led stones ; hence the name. 

Caer Rhun. — Rhun, the son of Maelgwyn Gwynedd^ 
and a prince of the sixth century, who took up his abode 
in the Roman Conovium ; hence the name. 

Capel Curig. — Capel, chapel ; Curig, the name of 
the son of Hid or Julitta, who flouiished in the seventh 
century. The church was dedicated to Curig and his 


Carn Giwch. — Cam, a heap. On the summit of a 
hill close by, called Moel Carn Ciwch, there is a large 
heap of loose stones, supposed to have been raised to 
Ciwch, a British saint of an early period. 

Clwtybont. — Clwt, a portion ; " clwt o dir," a piece 
of land ; y, the ; bont-pont, bridge ; signifying a piece of 
land near a bridge. 

Clynog. — ^A corruption of Celynog, a place over- 
run with hoUywood. It is situated in a small grove 
near the shore, on a plain near the base of the hill. 

CoLWYN. — Some derive the name from Colwyn, the 
name of the chief shepherd of Bran ab Llyr Llediaith. 
Others think it is a compound of cau, hollow, enclosed ; 
and llwyn, a grove, a bush, from the deep brooks and 
encircling groves in the district. 

Conway. — The town of Conway was built on the 
north side of the liver by Maelgwyn Gwynedd, in 581, 
and was called Caer Gyfifin, which signifies the border 
fortress. Conwy is the present Welsh name, taken from. 
the name of the river, which signifies the chief water. 
Some philologists derive the name from cain, fair, fine,, 
beautiful ; and wy, water. Conwy and Cainwy are 
equally applicable to this beautiful river. From gwy 
or wy, water, most of the Welsh rivers derive their 
names. For instance, Llugwy, clear water ; Elwy, 
gliding water ; and the above, Conwy, chief watei , or 
Cainwy, fair or fine water. The site of Conway Castle 
was anciently called Cannock, from cann, white, fair, 
clear, and oich, water. 

Criccieth. — Pennant spells it Crickaeth, " The 
Myvyrian " Cruciaith, and others Crug-caeth. Some 


think it is a compound of crug, a heap, a hillock, and 
aeth, sorrow, pain ; signifying a frightful or foimidable 
promontory. Others say it is Crug-caeth, the narrow hill. 
Perhaps it is a compound of craig aeth, signifying the awful 

Croesor. — A narrow comb in Blaenau Nanmor. 
Tradition says that Elen Lueddog was on her journey 
homewards when, on hearing the sad news of her son's 
death, she sorrowfully exclaimed, " Croesawr i mi " — i.e., 
" an hour of adversity to me," and the place was called 
Croesawr or Croesor from that sorrowful circumstance. 

Crynant. — Cry, a corruption of crai, a word im- 
plying a narrow place ; crai'r nodwydd, the eye of the 
needle ; nant, a brook. The old inhabitants spell it 
Crainant, and a bridge that spans Nant-y-Bettws is called 
Pont-y-Crainant, because under the bridge the brook is 
very narrow. 

CwMEiGiAU. — Cwm, valley ; eigiau, the plural form 
of aig, which signifies what biings forth, anything that 
is prolific. Month (mynydd, mountain) Eigie, in Scot- 
land, implies a hill covered with luxuriant grass. Eigion 
is from Latin oceaims, the ocean, and aig is a modern 
back formation from it. There are several lakes in the 
valley, and the natural inference is that it was so called 
from its bifurcated aspect. 

CwMYGLO. — Cwm, valley ; glo, a corruption probably 
of goleu, goleuni, light ; signifying a \'alley remarkable 
for enjoying the sunny beams. 

Cymydjiaen. — Cymyd-Cwmwd, a vicinity ; maen, a 
stone. On the sands, opposite Bardsey Island, there 
is a stone called Maen Melyn Lleyn, from which the 
vicinity took its name. 


DiNAS Emrys. — Dinas, a fortified city ; Emrys, the 
surname of a celebrated bard of the fifth century, who 
was known by the name of Merddin Emrys, oi Ambrosius. 
King Gwrtheym presented the place to Emrys, and. 
hence it is called after his name. 

DoLBADARN. — The church was dedicated to Padarn ;. 
hence the name. 

DoLGARROG. — A Compound of dol, a meadow, and 
carog, a torrent, a brook. The place is remaikable for 
its deep hollows and beautiful waterfalls. 

DoLWYDDELEN. — Some say that the light wording 
is Dolyddelen, Elen's meadow, from the supposition that 
Elen Lwyddog, daughter of Coel Codebog, took up her 
abode here. Others think it is Dol, meadow ; gwydd, 
wood, and Elen. We rather think the name signifies 
the meadow of Gwythelan, or Gwyddelan, to whom the 
church of the parish was dedicated. 

DwYGYFYLCHi. Dwy, a corruption of dy, on, upon ;. 
gy-cyd, with, united ; fylchi, plural of bwlch, a gap, a 
breach, a pass. The name signifies the joint passes. 
Some think the right wording is Rhiwfylchi, which 
signifies a slope with passes. The village is perched 
on the mountain side, between Penmaen Mawr, and 
Penmaen Bach. 

Ebenezer. — The village derives its name from the 
Congregational Chapel called Ebenezer, which was 
built when the place was developing into a populous 

Edeyrn. — Probably called in honour of Edeyrn ab 
Nudd. The church is dedicated to St. Edeyrn. 

Ef.«l Newydd. — The name signifies a new smithy. 


Four Crosses. Near the village there are two 
roads intersecting each other : hence the name. 

Garndolbenmaen. — Gam, a heap, a cairn ; dol, 
mountain meadow ; pen, top, head ; maen, stone. In 
the vicinity there is a large mount, on which might 
have been a watch-tower. About the beginning of the 19th 
century some cairns and urns were discovered heie. 

Garswyllt. — Probably a corruption of corswyUt, 
which signifies a wild bog. 

Glan Adda. — A corruption, probably, of Clyn 
Eiddw ; clyn, a place coveied with biakes ; eiddw, ivy, 

Glanwydden. — -The village takes its name from 
a farm of the name in the vicinity. The name, probably, 
is a compound of glan, brink, side, shore, bank ; and 
gwydden, a standing tree ; or gwydd-din, woody hill. 

Groeslon. — Groes-croes, cross ; Ion, a narrow road ; 
signifying the cross road. Lon is from the English word 

Gwibernant. — ^This name is variously spelt, namely, 
Ewybr Nant, a fleet, swift biook ; Gwyher Nant, a brook 
of sweet water ; 3M(i Gwiber Nant, Hit Vi-pex'shTodk. The 
last is the proper name. 

GwYDiR. — Prima facie one may take it to be a com- 
pound of gwy, water, and tir, land. Some derive it from 
gwydir, glass, upon the supposition that the mansion of 
Gwydir was the first house in Wales to have glass win- 
dows. Sir John Wynn mentions a date of 1512 on 
a window at Dolwyddelen, which is long before the 
building of Gwydir. Cynddelw Brydydd Mawr, who 
flourished about the year 1250, mused the following 
line : — 

" Trwy ffenestri Gwydir yd ym gwelant " 


that is, " They see me through the glass windows." The 
name probably is a corruption of gwaed, blood, and tir, 
land, signifying the bloody land. Bloody battles were 
fought here between Llywarch Hen and his foes about 
the year 610, and also between Gruffydd ab Cjman and 
Traehaearn ab Caradog, and others. 

Gyffin. — An inflection of cyffin, a confine, a limit, 
a border. The village is situated on the rivulet Gyffin, 
about three-quarters of a mile from Conway, which was 
anciently called Caer Gyffin. 

HiRAEL. — Hir, long ; ael, brow ; ad bryn, the brow 
■of a hiU. The name is quite descriptive of the situation 
of the village. 

Hebron. — ^The village took its name from the 
Congregational Chapel that was built in the place. 

Llanaelhaiarn. — ^The church is dedicated to 
Aelhaiarn, a brother of Llwchhaiam, and a saint of the 
sixth century. 

Llandrillo. — ^The church is dedicated to St. Trillo. 

Llanddyniol. — ^The church is dedicated to Deiniolen, 
3. descendant of Dunawd, the founder of Bangor Iscoed. 

Llanllechid. — ^The church is dedicated to Llechid, 
daughter of Ithel Hael, and a saint of the sixth cen- 

Llaneugan, or Llaneinon. — ^The church is dedi- 
<;ated to Einion, a royal saint of the sixth century. The 
following inscription was in the belfry of the church 
some time ago : " Eneanus Rex Wallia Fabricavit." 

Llandegwynin. — ^The fair church of Gwynin, a 
saint of the seventh century, to whose memory it was 


Llangwnadle. — The church is dedicated to Guynodl, 
son of Seithenyn, and a celebrated saint of the sixth 

Llanrhychwyn. — According to the " Myvyiian," 
the chuich was dedicated to Rhychwyn, son of Ithel 

Llandwrog. — The chuich is dedicated to Twrog, 
son of Ithel Hael. 

Llanfor. — The church is dedicated to Alor ah 
Ceneu ab Coel, a saint of the fifth century. 

Llaniestyn. — The chuich is dedicated to lestyn ab 
Gerainf, the founder of it. He flourished about the end 
of the sixth centur}?. 

Llandudwen. — The chuich was dedicated to 
Titdwcii, a Welsh saint. 

Llandudno. — The church is dedicated to Tudno, 
son of Seithenyn, and a saint of the sixth century. A 
curious rocking stone, called Cryd Tudno, Tudno's 
cradle, is seen on the Great Orme's Head. 

Llanberis. — The chuich was dedicated to Peris, a 
saint of the sixth century, and a caidinal missioned 
from Rome, took up his abode and died here. 

Llanarmon. — The church is dedicated to Garmon,- 
or Germanus, a saint and bishop of the fifth centuiy. 

Llangystenyn. — ^The church was probably dedi- 
cated to Cystenyn Gerneu, and not to Constantine the 
Great, as some believe. 

Llanfaelrys. — The church was dedicated to- 
Maelfrys, a descendant of Emyr Llydaw, and a saint 
of the sixth century. 


Llanystumdwy. — Ystum, a bend, a turn, a curve, a 
form ; dwy, two ; signifying the form of two rivers. 

Llanbeblig. — ^The church is dedicated to Peblic, 
(Pubhcus), son of Macsen Wledig, and a saint of the fifth 

Llanllyfni. — Llyfni, the name of the river that 
flows through the village. The name signifies a church 
on or near the smooth water. 

Llandegai. — Tegai, son of Ithel Hael, and a pop- 
ular saint of the sixth century, founded the church 
In " Achau y Saint," he is Tegai Glasog o Maelan. 
This beautiful little place is called a " model village." 

Llanbedrog. — ^The church is dedicated to Pedrog, 
son of Clement, who is supposed to have founded it in 
the seventh century. 

Llanrhos. — Rhos, a dry meadow, a plain ; the 
name signifies a church on the meadow. The church 
is celebrated for the death of Maelgwyn Gwynedd, who 
had taken shelter here to avoid the fad felen, yellow 
plagu«, which at that time raged through Europe. How- 
ever, he fell a victim to the plague, and was buiied in 
this church ; hence the adage—" Hun Maelgwyn yn 
Eglwys y Rhos " — i.e., the sleep of Maelgwyn in Llanrhos. 

Llanfaglan.— The church is dedicated to Baglan, 
son of Dingad. 

Llanfihangel-y-Pennant.— The church is dedi- 
cated to St. Michael, and is situated near the river Pennant. 

Llangybi.— The church is dedicated to Cybi, a 
popular British saint of the sixth century. 

Llanfair Fechan.— The church is dedicated to 


St. Mary, and the adjective fechan, small, little, was 
added probably to distinguish it from other and larger 
churches dedicated to the same saint. 

Llithfaen. — Llith implies attraction ; maen, stone. 
There is a stone in the vicinity that partakes of the 
nature of a loadstone, from which, probably, the place 
derives its name. 

Meini Hirion. — Meini, plural of maen, stone ; 
hirion, plural of hir, long. Druidic monuments, such 
as cromlechs and other large stones, are still visible in 
this vicinity. The place took its name from the long 
stones that weie seen above the Bwlch, which, accord- 
ing to tiadition, weie conveyed there by a giant. 

Moel Trypan. — Moel, bare, bald ; tryfan, high 
place, upland. 

Mynytho. — A corrupted foim of mynyddoedd, 
mountains. The name is quite descriptive of the 
place, which is situated on a rugged eminence. 

Nazareth. — ^This village takes its name from 
Nazareth, the Congregational Chapel. 

Nannau. — Plural form of nant, a brook. 

Nantfprancon. — Nant, a brook ; ffrancon, a beaver ,; 
the name signifies the beaver's hollow. 

Nantlle.— A compound of nant, a brook, and lief, 
a cry, a voice, so called from the traditional belief that 
some sorrowful cries were heard near the brook at some 
remote period. 

Nepyn. — The church was probably dedicated to 
Nefyn, daughter of Brychan Brycheiniog, and a saint 
of the fifth century ; hence the name of the place. 


PoRTMADoc. — In 1813, Mr. Maddock, Tan-yr-Allt, 
jnade an embankment to save the site of the present 
town from the incursions of the sea ; and in 1821, he 
obtained an Act of Parhament for opening a port in the 
place, so he is naturally called the founder of the town, 
and his name was deservedly bestowed upon it. 

PONTNEWYDD. — Pont, bridge ; newydd, new ; so 
•called from a certain bridge, that was built over the 
river Gwyrfai. 

Pwllheli. — Pwll, pool ; heli, salt water ; the sea- 
port is situated on the edge of Cardigan Bay. The 
'" Myvyrian " derives heli from Heli, the son of Glanog. 

PoRTDiNORWiG. — Din, a hiU fort ; The Rev. Isaac 
Taylor derives it thus : Port Dyn Norwig, the " Port of 
the Norway men," founding his reasons upon the pro- 
bability that the Normans frequently visited that haven. 
His derivation in our opinion, is rather far-fetched 
and misleading. Dinorwig probably means " fort of the 

Penygroes. — So called- after an insignificant cot- 
tage of the name, which stood near a crossway. 

Penmaenmawr. — Pen, head ; maen, stone, rock ; 
mawr, great. The prefix pen is frequently found in the 
names of mountains, such as Ben Nevis, Appennines, 
Pennignant ; La Penne, Penard, &c. Penmaenmawr is a 
huge mountain, 1545 feet perpendicular from its base, 
being the terminating point of the Sr.owdonian rarge 
of mountairs. The beautiful waterir.g-place, which 
shelters at its base, takes its name from it. Some thir.k 
the right wording is Penmonmawr. The adjacent, promon- 
tory is now frequently called — 


Penmachno. — Machno, a mutation of Machnawf ; 
mach-moch, ready, quick, swift ; nawf, swim. " Moch. 
dysg nawf mab hwyad " — i.e., the young of the duck 
soon learn to swim. Machno is the name of the river 
near which the village is situated. Some are of opinion, 
that the name signifies the head of Machno, a descend- 
ant of one of the Irish princes that visited these shores 
about the fourth century. The common opinion of the 
inhabitants is that machno is a corruption of mynachlog^ 
monastery, founding their reason upon the supposition 
that a monastery stood here in time of yore. 

Pentir. — The name means headland. Centire has 
the same signification. Pen in Gaehc is cen. The 
place is also called Llangedol, from the dedication of 
its church to Cedol, a Welsh saint. 

Penrhyn. — Rhyn means a promontory. Rhe, run. 
rain, and rhyn, are derivatives of the Sansciit ri. Rhedeg, 
running ; reindeer, the running deer ; rhe, swift. Penr- 
hyn, a point of land that runs into the sea. Rhine, a rapid 
river. The Rhyns are numerous in our island. Rindow 
Point near Wigton ; Penrhyn in Cornwall ; Rhynd in 
Perth ; the Rins of Galloway, &c. 

Pen Isa'r Waun.— The name signifies a place 
situated at the lower end of the meadow. 

Penllech.— This name signifies " the head of the 
rock," from the situation of the place at the extremity 
of some rocks on the coast of St. George's Channel. 

Port Penrhyn.— The late Lord Penrhyn made 
this a shipping-place for the slates that \\ere conveyed 
from his quarries in the Vale of Nant Ffrancon ; hence 
the name. 


PiSGAH. — So called from Pisgah, the Congrega- 
tional Chapel that was built in the place. 

Pencarth. — A compound of pen, head or end, and 
garth, a promontory, a ridge. 

Pen Morfa. — The name signifies the head or end 
of the marsh. The village is situated between some 
high rocks at the end of a tract of meadows on the wes- 
tern bank of Traeth Mawr, the great beach. It was 
anciently called Y Wem, and supposed to be a seaport 
before Mr. Maddock raised the embankment at Port 

Rhiw. — The name means a slope, which is in corres- 
pondence with the physical aspect of the village, being situ- 
ated on a rising eminence. 

Rhiwaedog. — Rhiw, slope, brow of a hill ; gwaedog, 
bloody ; signifying the bloody brow. The place is noted 
for a battle fought between Llywarch Hen and the 
Saxons, in which Cynddelw, his last son, fell. 

Roewen. — Probably a corruption of yr wy wen, 
the v/hite river. A place called Gorswen is contiguous 
to it. 

Rhydgoch. — The name signifies the red ford, 

Rhydyclafdy. — Rhyd, a ford ; clafdy, hospital ; sig- 
Tiifying a ford near the hospital. Several names in this 
Tieighbourhood point to the probability that it was once 
a scene of war. 

Rhosfawr. — Rhos, a moor ; fawr-mawr, great. 

Rhoslan. — Rhos, a moor ; lan-Uan, a sacied in- 
closuie, a church. 


Rhostryfan. — Rhos, a moor ; tryfan, high place. 
The village is situated on a high elevated place. 

Sarn. — The name geneially means a road. Six 
roads meet at a certain point in the village ; hence 
the name. 

Trefor. — A compound of tref, place, town, and 
fawr, large, great. 

Ty'nlon. — Ty, a house ; yn, in ; }', the ; ion 
NorthwaUan word for a narrow road. The name sig- 
nifies a house in or near the road, and the \dllage pio- 
bahly derived it from a farm-house of the name. 

Talsarn. — Tal, end ; sarn, road ; the name signifies 
the end of the Roman load. Sani y Cyfiawn, the high- 
way of the righteous. Sarn Helen occurs fiequently in 
Welsh history. Helen was a Welsh princess, the daugh- 
ter of Euddaf, that is, Octavius, a Cambiian piince, 
and the wife of Macsen Wledig, or Maximus, the emperor.- 
Sarn Helen is an old Roman road , so called by the emperor- 
in honour of his wife. 

Tydwaeliog. — Some are of opinion that the church 
was originally dedicated to Tydwal, a Welsh saint. 

Tremadog. — The derivation of Poitmadoc is almost 
equally applicable to this name. The only diffeience 
lies in the prefix. Tre means an abode, a town. 

Talycafn. — Tal, front, end ; y, the ; cajn, a tray or 
trough ; signifying the head or end of the trough. The- 
name faithfully represents this isolated and encircled 
spot of the parish. 


Trefriw. — Tref, a place, a town ; rhiw, a slope, a 
brow of a hill. This pretty little village is situated on 
a small eminence, commanding an extensive view of 
the beautiful Vale of Llanrwst. 

Ty'ndonen. — ^The correct wording probably is 
Tyddyn yr Onnen, the ash tenement. This is one of the 
many place names in Wales where tyddyn is reduced to tyn. 

WAE'NFAWR.—Waen or Waun, a meadow, a com- 
mon ; fawr-mawr, great ; the great meadow. The 
site of the present straggling village was once a large 
meadow, covering one square mile, where the neigh- 
bouring farmeis were wont to turn theii cattle in the 
summer to graze, and quench their thiist in the river 

Ynys Enlli. — From Ynys Fenlli, i.e., Benlli Gawr, 
or Benlli the Giant. 

The English called it Bardsey Island, the isle of 
the bards. It is said that the bards resorted there, 
preferring solitude to the intrusion of foreign invaders. 


Anglicized form of Dinbych, which is variously de- 
rived. A variety of very forceful derivations have been 
suggested, such as Dimbach, which mears " no hook," 
in allusion to the time when fishing hooks were obtain- 
able in the place. Is it not Dinbach ? Din, a hill ; bach, 
little or small. The last derivation is amply supported 
by the geographical position of the place, being a 
small hill in comparison wiih the loftier eminences that 
tower above it. The county derives its name from the 

Abergele. — This pleasant market town is so called 
from its situation near the mouth of the river Gele. The 
river, according to some, derives its name from gele, 
leech. A considerable number of leeches were seen at 
the estuary in olden times. 

AcTYN. — A corrupt form of ac-tiut-oakto-wr.. 

Bangor Iscoed. — The woid Bangor here means the 
superior or principal church or college. Iscoed, under 
the wood. This place is famous for being the site of the 
most ancient monastery or rather seminary in Britain. 
It was founded according to the old writers by Lucius, the 
son of Coel, and first Christian king of Britain, prior to the 
year i8o. Pelagius was here about the j^ear 400. The 
institution sometime contained 2,400 monks. It was also 
the site of the supposed Bonium or Borium, a Roman 

Bersham. Bers is supposed to be an Enghsh personal 
name. It occurs in the Cheshire Doomsday Book. The 
name, probably, signifies Bers' ham, settlement, or manor. 


BoNTNEWYDD. — A Compound of font, a bridge, and 

■newydd, new. 

Brymbo. — Brym is a corruption of bryn, hill. Bo, 
accordir.g to some is an abbreviation of the word boda, 
the kite, which is supposed to have made this place a 
iavourite place of refuge at times of peril. Some say it 
is a corruption of Brynbaw, hill of dirt. It was spelt Brin- 
baw in 1339, and also the forms Brenbowe and Brimbo 
are four.d in the same year. 

Brynkinalt. — ^A compound of bryn, a hill ; cyn, 
prior ; gallt, a woody slope. The name imphes that a 
.mountain exisled before the trees that grew on it. 

Bodrhychwyn. — Bod, a dwelling ; Rhychwyn, the 
■n.ame of the son of Ithel Hael, who is supposed to have 
taken up his abode here. 

BwLCHCYNBRYD. — Bwlch, a gap, breach, pass ; 
■Cynbryd, the name of a saint of the fifth century, 
supposed to have been killed by the Saxons at the place 
which bears his name. 

Cefx MAVi'R. — The name signifies a high- ridge, so 
■called to distinguish it from Cefnbychan, which is in 
■close proximity. 

Cristionydd. — The name means a worshipper of 
Christ, a Christian. 

Chirk. — In Welsh the place is called Eglwys y Waen, 
the church of the moor. Pennant is of opinion that Chirk 
is a dialectic variety of the word whence church is derived. 
Compare the Scotch kirk. Some think the name is a muti- 
lation of Ceiriog, its ancient name. The place is in close 
proximity to the river Ceiriog. 


Clog Caenog. — Clog, a detached rock ; caenog,- 
having a cover enclosed. Caenen, a covering. There 
are some excellent quariies of stone in this mountain- 
ous district, and some parts of it abound with heaths. 

Ceryg-y-Drudion. — A corruption of Ceryg-y- 
Dewrion, the stones of the champions or wairiois, so 
called fiom a large heap of stones that stood a century 
or two ago, near the church in memory of some cele- 
brated warriors. Some think drudion is a corruption 
of dntydion, or derwyddon, druids ; hence the interpre- 
tation would be " stones of the Druids." 

Derwen. — ^The name means an oak, so called, 
probably, from the abundance of oaks in the district. 

Dolwen. — Dol, a meadow ; wen, feminine form of 
gwyn, white. 

Eglwys Bach. — Eglwys, church ; Bach, the name 
of the son of Corwel, who took refuge in North Wales 
in the seventh century, devoted himself to religious 
life, and founded a church on the banks of the Conwy ; 
hence the name of the place. 

Esgair Ebrill. — Esgair, & shank, a long ridge, that 
which stretches out ; Ebrill, April. 

Efenechtyd. — A corruption of y fyneichdyd, the 
monk's land ; mynach, monk ; dyd, or dud, land. 

EsCLUSHAM. — Esglyw, protection, defence, and //(;;;;, 
a place, but much more probably from Eglwys:=Ecclesia, 
a church. The place is in close proximity to Offa's 

Fron. — An inflection of bron, a pointed or breast- 
shaped hill. 


Ffrwd. — -The name means a stream, a torrent. 
" Ffrwd yr afon," the stream of the river. 

Glynceiriog. — Glyn, a narrow vale ; Ceiriog, the 
name of the river that fiows through the valley. 

Garthen. — From gaerddin, fortified hill, so called 
from an old British camp in the place. In this place 
Owain Gyfeiliog vanquished the Saxons in 1161. 

Gresford. — A corruption of Groesffordd, so called 
from its close proximity to an old cross. 

Gwersyllt. — The name signifies a camp or encamp- 

Gwytherin. — From Sant Gwytherin, to whom the 
church was dedicated. He flourished about the end 
of the sixth centi^ry. Gwyth, vein ; erin, gold. 

Gefailrhyd. — Gefail, smithy ; rhyd, ford. 

Henllan. — Hen, old ; llan, church. A name of 
frequent occurrence in Wales. The old church, dedi- 
cated to St. Sadwrn, was demolished, and re-built in 

Holt. — ^The Norse for wood, 01 hold of wild animals. 
We find Birg-hoU in Essex, which means the fortress 
in the wood. According to Lewis's " Topographical Dic- 
tionary," the ancient name was Castell Lleon, the " castle 
of the legions," and the present name was probably derived 
from a family of the name of Holt, who are said to have 
held the castle in remote times. 

Llanrhaiadr-yn-Mochnant. — Rhaiadr, waterfall ; 
yn, the ; mochnant, quick, swift-brook. According to 
this interpretation, the name signifies a church built 
near the swift water. Others say that moch means 


swine, ard that the word nant is applied to the whole 
valley, irxlusive of the brook that flows through it, 
on the traditional belief that the place was some time 
abounding with wild hogs. The latter is the more 
plausible and acceptable. Dr. Wm. Morgan , the first trans- 
lator of the Bible into Welsh, was vicar of the place. 

Llanelian. — From Elian Geimiad, a saint of the 
sixth century, to whom the church was dedicated. Elian's 
"Well is near the village. 

Llanegwestl. — From Egwestl, to whom the old 
■church was dedicated. Einion Waun alludes to him 
in the following couplet : — 

" Gwr a wna'j fel Gwair fab Gwestl, 
Gwyr wawr yn IlAwr Llanegwestl." 

i.e.' — Like Gwestyl's son, he lies in gloom profound 
In Valle Crucis Abbey's holy ground. 

Llanelidan. — The church is dedicated to St. 

Llangollen. — From Collen, a saint of the seventh 
century. A Welsh legend recounts his martial deeds 
when he was in the Roman army, and shows how he 
became Abbot of Glastonbury, and spent the latter 
end of his life in that delightful vale which still bears 
his name. 

Llanfair Dyffryn Clwyd. — Llanfair, St. Mary's 
church ; dyffryn, vale ; Clwyd, the name of the pic- 
turesque and fertile vale in which the church is situa- 
ted. Clwyd is probably a mutation of llwyd, vener- 
able, adorable. " Duw Iwyd," the adorable God. 

Llaxrhaiadr Dyffryn Clwyd. — Rhaiadr means 
■cataract, waterfall. Rhaiadru, to spout out. " Ffynnon 
Ddyfrog," Dyvrog's well, a short distance from the 


church, suddenly disappears in the fissures of the rock. 
Dy-ffryn Clwyd has been explained alrea dy. 

Llanrhudd. — A corruption of Llanrhyd, the church 
by the ford. 

Llansantffraid-glan-Conwy. The church was 

dedicated to St. Ffraid, and the village stands on the 
banks of the river Conway. The name of the rail- 
way-station is Carog, to distinguish it from the other 

Llandyrnog. — From Dyrnog, a descendant of 
Seithenin, to whom the church is dedicated. 

Llansilin. — ^The church is dedicated to Silin, a 
descendant of Emyr Llydaw, and a saint of the sixth 
century. Eglwys Sulien, Cardigan, also bears his name. 

Llangwyfen. — From Cwyfen, a descendant of 
Caradog Breichfras. 

Llandrillo. — From Trillo, son of Ithel Hael, and 
a saint of the sixth century. He was a member of 
the Enlli seminary. This village is famous for being the 
residence of Maelgwyn Gwynedd in the fifth century,, 
and afterwards of Edn3rfed Fychan, chief of one of the 
royal tribes of Wales. 

Llanhychan. — From Hychan, a descendant of 
Brychan, and a saint of the fifth century. 

Llangynhafal. — ^The church is dedicated to Cyn- 
hafal, a descendant of Caradog Fieichfras, and a saint 
of the seventh century. 

Llangernyw. — ^The church was founded by St. 
Digain in the fifth century, and probably dedicated it 
to his father, Cystenyn Gemeu, a British king, and son 


•of Cadwr, the prince of Cernyw (Cornwall) ; hence the 
name Llangernyw. 

Llanewst. The old church was built in 1170, and 
dedicated to Crwst, a descendant of Urien Rheged, and 
a saint of the seventh century. Lord Herbert burned 
the church in 1468, and the present one was built in 
1470. Pennant says the church was dedicated to St. 
Rhystid, or Restitutus, Archbishop of London, in 361. 

Llangadwaladr. — The church is dedicated to 
Cadwaladr, the Blessed, who succeeded his father, 
Cadwallawn, to the throne of Britain in 634. He was 
the last of the Welsh princes who assumed the title of 
King of Britain. 

Llangedwyn. — From Cedwyn, a descendant of 
■Gwrthefyr, the king, and a saint of the sixth century. 
It is supposed he was buried in the church. 

Llansant Sior. — The church, probably, is dedicated 
to St. George, hence the name. Kinmel Park is close by, 
where, according to tradition, Oliver Cromwell was con- 
cealed when Carter, his general lived there. A very big 
spur was seen in St. George's church, called Oliver 
Cromwell's spur. 

Llansantffraid Glyndyfrdwy. — The church was 
dedicated to St. Ffraid. Glyn, glen, a narrow, deep valley; 
Dyfrdwy, Dee. The Dee valley extends about seven miles 
in length, and lies in the paiishes of Llangollen, Llandj'si- 
lio, Coiwen, and Llansantffraid. In this parisih was the 
prison where Owen Glyndwr confined his captives, and the 
place was called Cavchardy Owen Glyndwr, Owen Glyndwr's 


Llandegla. — The church was probably dedicated 
to Tegla, who, according to tradition, was converted to 
Christianity by the Apostle Paul, and suffered martyr^ 
■dom under Nero at Iconium. The celebrated Tegla's 
Well is about 200 yards from the Church. 

Llanddulais. — From Dulais — du, black ; glais, a 
brook — ^the river on which the church is situated. 
Here the unfortunate Richard the Second was be- 
trayed into the hands of his formidable rival to the 
throne. The cantrev is called Is-Dulais. 

Llanferres. ^The church was probably dedi- 
cated, about the latter end of the fourth century, to 
Berres, a disciple of St. Martin, the Hungarian. Dr. 
John Davies, the eminent antiquarian, and the author 
of the Welsh-Latin Dictionary, was a native of this 

Llangwm. — ^The name signifies a church in the 
vale or dingle. 

Llanddoged. — ^The church was dedicated to Doged 
a descendant of Cunedda, and a saint of the sixth century. 
" Bonedd y Saint " calls him Doged the King. 

Llanefydd. — Nefydd, a descendant of Brychan, 
and a saint of the fifth century, founded the church. 

Llansannan. — Senau, or Senanus, was a saint and 
an Irish bishop of the sixth century, and it is in- 
ferred that he lived in Wales from the fact that this 
church was dedicated to him. 

Llanfair-Talhaiarn. — The church is dedicated to 
St. Mary. Talhaiarn was a celebrated bard and saint 
of tfie sixth century. He was also a chaplain to Emrys 


Wledig ; but after the latter was killed, he became a. 
hermit, and founded the church which bears his Name. 

Llanarmon-yn-Ial. — ^The church was dedicated to 
St. Garmon, bishop of Auxerre. lal, the name of the 
cantrev, means an open space or region. Tir ial, open 
land. Yale, Derbyshire, is derived from the same root. 
Ial is the differentia, added to distinguish the place 
from the other Llanarmon. The ' Topographical 
Dictionary of Wales " says that " within a niche in the 
outer waU of the church is the figure of a bishop, six 
feet four inches in height, which is said to be that of 
St. Germanus, Bishop of Auxerre, who, with St. Lupus, 
gained over the Picts and Saxons at Maesgarmon, near 
Mold, in the year 420, the celebrated victory called by 
historians Victoria AUeluiatica." 

Llanarmon Dyffryn Ceiriog. — The village is 
situated on the river Ceiriog ; hence the differentia. 
The parish is supposed to have been the burial-place 
of St. Germanus. 

Llysfaen. — The name signifies the stone court or 

Lodge. — The village is situate on the Lodge Estate. 
In 1844 there was only one house in the place, which is 
now so densely populated. 

Marchwiail. — March, perhaps, is the same as marc, 
a mark, and wiail is the plural of gwialen, a rod. View- 
ing the geographical position of this place, being in 
close proximity to Wat's Dyke, we are of opinion that 
the line of demarcation was made of- rods or poles ; 
hence the origin of the name. 

MiNERA. — The name of this place was Mwyn-y- 


ClawM, the mine-ditch, in allusion to Offa's Dyke, 
which passes through it ; and the present name is pro- 
bably derived from the abundance of minerals it 
contains. It is supposed that the Welsh name was not 
mentioned until 1685, whereas the name Minera can 
be tiaced back to 1339. 

MocHDRE. — Moch, quick, swift ; or, perhaps, it is 
the plural for pigs ; dre-tref, a dwelling-place. 

MoELFRE. — Moel, bare, bald ; fre-fryn, hill. 

Moss. — A corruption, perhaps, of ffos, a ditch, or 
trench. Ffos is cognate with the Latin fossa, a ditch. 
Moss is the Norse for bog. 

Nantglyn. — Nant, brook ; glyn, glen, vale. 

Oernant. — Oer, cold ; nant, brook. 

PoNTYGLYN. — The bridge of the glen. This biidge 
stands at the head of a woody glen. 

Pentre'r Bais. — ^The village of the petticoat. The 
name is supposed to be a nickname. It appears that 
Mary Bartley's cottage was the first to form the nucleus of 
the village, hence the name. 

Rhostyllen. — The modern village has grown up 
between two farmhouses : the first of them was called 
■ y Rhos,' and the other ' Bryn y pentre.' Perhaps 
the correct foim is ' Rhos Astyllen,' the Ribwort moor. 

Penrhos. — A compound of pen, head, end ; and 
rhos, a meadow, a moor. 

Pensarn. — ^The name signifies the end of the Roman 
road. Castell-y-cawr, the giant's castle, which is con- 
sidered to be one of the most complete Roman camps 
in the kingdom, is in this vicinity. 


Pentre Celyn (Cuhelyn). — The village of Cuhelyn. 

Pentrefoelas. — Pentre, village ; moel, a pile, a 
conical hill ; las-glas, blue. Many of our mountains 
and hills bear the name moel, such sis Moel Siabod, 
Y Foel (Cwmavon), Moelyfamau, Moelwyn, Y Foel 
Goch, and the Foel Las. Some think the correct wording 
is Pentre-foel-aes, the village of the Bald Shield. 

PoNTLLOGELL. — Pont, bridge ; llogell, pocket, so 
called, probably, from the pedestrians being obliged to 
put their hands into their pockets to pay a certain fee 
before crossing the bridge. 

PoNKEY. — A corruption of Poncyn, a small hillock, 
or it may be a contraction of the plural fonciMi. 

Pantygroes. — Pant, small dirgle ; y, the ; croes- 
groes, cross. It is said that the form of a cross which was 
once visible on a certain spot in the neighbouihood, 
was descroyed by Cromwell's soldiers, but from which 
circumstance the place was called Pantygroes. 

Rhydonen. — Rhyd, ford ; onen, the ash tiee. One 
writer thinks it is a corruption of Rhyd Hen, the old 
fold ; but this is rather far-fetched. Hewcis of wood 
in olden times might have co--^.veyed the ash trees over 
the ford, neai which a bridge now stands. 

Rhoshobyn. — Rhos, meadow ; hobyn, pig ; Yr Hob 
was in ar.cient times the popular word for swine. " Hob 
y deri dan do," i.e. — The boar of the wood safely lodged 
ur.der roof. Having captured the boar in the woods and 
brought him safely to the house, the popular Welsh song 
" Hob y deri dan do " was sung with rapture and joy. 

Rhosllanerchrugog. — Rhos, meadow ; Uanerch, 
glade ; crugog, abounding with tumps. 



Rhosymedre. — ^A compound of Rhos and yn, the, a 
•corruption of mhen-pen, and dre-tre, a dwelling place, 
signif3dng a meadow at the er.d of the town. Some say, 
that medre is a mutation of mydreu, measures or circles. 
The former derivation is supported by the geographical 
position of the village. 

RossET. — A corruption of rhosydd, the plural of rhos. 

RuABON. An Anglicized form of Rhiw Fabon. 
Rhiw, slope, ascending path ; Mabon, the name of a 
Welsh saint who lived here, and founded a church about 
the time of Llewelyn ab lorwerth. Some think the 
place took its name from its physical aspect, being 
situate on a rhiw, a slope, near a streamlet called Afoti ; 
hence Rhiwafon. The foimer is the more popular view. 

Ruthin. — ^This name is variously deiived. Some 
say that a woman named Ruth once kept a large inn 
near the (then) village, and, when the place began to 
■develop into a town, the people began to call it Ruth 
Inn. Red is the pie vailing coloui of the soil in the 
district. The principal parts of the town are situated 
on red sands or ashes ; hence the name was taken from 
the ruddy hue of the soil. Rhuih-rhudd, ruddy, crimson, red; 
in an abbreviation of din ; signifying a ruddy town. The 
town was burnt by Owen Glyndwr, September 20th, 1400. 

Rhufoniog. — ^This place was given to Rhufawn, 
son of Cunedda Wledig, for the gallar.tiy shown by 
-him in driving the Picts from North Wales ; hence the 

Threapwood. — Some think threap, is derived 
from Throp, the meeting of cross roads. Pennant 
•derives it from Threapian, an Anglo-Saxon word signify- 
ing to persist in a fact or argument, be it right or wrong. 


Trefnant. — A compound of tref, place, a town, 
and nant, brook. 

Trefor. — Tref, town ; for-fawr, great ; in contra- 
distinction to trefan, a small hamlet or city. 

Tre'r Ynys. — Ynys Cyrys, to whom is geneially 
dedicated the honour of having been the first to collect 
the Welsh proverbs. The collection is called " Mad- 
waith hen Gyrys o lal," the good work of old Cyrys of lal.. 

Wig Fawr, or Wicwer. — Wig-gwig, a wood or 
f 01 est ; Mair, St. Maiy, signifying Mary's wood. There 
is also a well in the place dedicated to St. Mary. 

Wrexham. — Someone, more wittily than correctly, 
said that Gwrecsam means Gwraig Sam, Sam's wife. 

" Such short-lived wits do wither as they grow." 

The most ancient forms of the name are Wrighesham 
and Wrightesham. Old form, Wrightes ham, i.e., 
Wright's ham. Churchyard, the Elizabethan bard,, 
described it as " trim Wricksam town, a pearl in Den- 
bighshire." The name, we think, is a compound of 
rex, king, and ham, signifying the king's hamlet. A few 
Latin words were introduced into the speech of the 
Cj/mry in the middle ages. In the elegy of Meilyr on 
" Graffydd ab Cynan " (twelfth century) we find the 
epithet " rex radau," king of gifts, or graces. 

Wynstay. — It was once called Wat-stay from its 
situation on the famous dyke. The present name was 
given to it by Sir John Wynn. 

YsBYTTY Ifan. — This village, situated on the banks 
of the Conwy, took its name from an ysbytfy, hospital, 
that was founded here in 1189, by Ifan ab Rhys. Tir 
Ifan is another place in the parish. 


The name probably arose from that of the Castle, 
Castellum-supev-Fluentum, i.e., the castle near the sea. 
The county is exceedingly rich in minerals, especially 
lead and coal ; but flintstones have not as yet 
been discovered there ; so that we must seek elsewhere 
foi the origin of the name. Some think the name refers 
to the oblor.g form of the county, which, when looking 
on the map, reminds one of the ancient Celtic knives 
which were made of flint. 

Adwy'r Clawdd. — Adwy, gap, breach ; Clawdd, 
dyke. The place is in close proximity to Offa's Dyke ; 
hence the name. 

St. Asaph. — The Welsh name is Llanelwy, 
from its situation on the banks of the liver Elwy. 
The English name was bestowed upon it in honour of St. 
Asaph, who became the second bishop of the see in 560, 
died in 596, and was interred in his own cathedral. The 
township in which it star.ds is called Bryn Paulin, in honour 
of Paulinus, a Roman general, who made the hill a place 
of encampment on his way to Mona. Some think the 
right woiding is Bryn Polyn, the hill of the pole. 

Argoed. — The name signifies a place on or above 
the wood, and is cognate with Arghait in Scotland. 

BoDiDRis. — From Idris, the son of Llewel}^! Aur 
dorchog (the golden -torqued), one of the lords of lal. 

BoDFARi. — The common opinion is that the Roman 
station called Varis was here, and recent discoveries 
corroborate the theory ; hence the name. 


Bettesfield. — The general opinion is that the 
field belonged to a woman called Betty. A field below 
the Baily hill, caUed Cue Owain, Owe I's field, is sup- 
posed to be the place where Owen and his men encamped 
when they stormed the Baily castle. There are several 
fields in this distiict either suffixed or prefixed by proper 
names. The right wording would be Bettysfield. 

Bagillt. — This name is a perversion of Btigeillt, 
which is a compound of bii, a cow, an ox, and geillt, the 
plural foim of gallf, a cliff, an ascent. 

Broughton. — In Doomsday Survey and other 
old records, the name is spelt as Brocfune, and that in 
modern English is Brook-town. The Broughton family 
took their name from this place in the reign of Henry 

Brynteg. — From an old farm-house so called. The 
name signifies ' fair-hill.' 

BwLCHGWYN. — The name signifies ' white gap or 
pass.' The eailiest mention of the name is in a document 
dated 1649, wheiein Bvvlchgwyn is described as a Common. 
It takes its name, pi obably, from the white limestone cliffs 
which lined the old road from Wiexham to Ruthiii. 

Caergwrle. — Caer, fortress ; gwr-aer, boundary ; 
le-lle, a place, signifying the border fortiess. An old 
castle beaiing the name is situate about a mile from the 
village called Hope. It is supposed to have been an out- 
post to Deva. On the supposition that it was once a 
Roman station, some think the full woiding is Caer-gawr- 
lleng, the camp of the great legion ; cawr-Ueng 
was the name given by the Britons to the twentieth 


CiLOWEN. — Cil, a hidden place. Tbis name was 
given in honour of Owen Gwynedd, who camped there 
in order to avoid the intrigues of Henry II. 

Caerwys. — Caer, a fortress, a city, from Latin 
castrensis ; wys-gwys, summons. Some think that the 
Romans had a station here, where they held theii 
judicial courts. The bards, in time of yore, frequently 
held their sessions here. An eisteddfod was held here 
by royal commission on the 2nd of July, in the 15th 
year of Henry VIII. The last royal summers for 
holding these national festivals was issued in the ninth 
year of the reign of Elizabeth. 

Caerfallwch. — A corruption piobably of Caer, 
stronghold ; Afallach, proper name. In the pedigree of 
Sir Owain Tudor we find the name of " Afallech ap 
Afflech, ap Beli Mawr." This Afallech is supposed to 
be a nephew of the renowned Caswallawp.. On an 
adjacent hill called " Moel-y-gacr " theie aie some remains 
of a British stronghold, which is supposed to have been 
under the command of Afallech during the Roman incur- 

Cefn. — The name signifies a lidge, which is quite 
descriptive of the place, being situated on a high emi- 
nence on the left bank of the river Alun. 

CoEDMYNYDD. — A Compound of coed, wood ; and 
mynydd, mountain. 

CoEDPOETH. — ^The name signifies " Burnt wood." 
In Norden's Survey of A.D., 1620, it is described as a 
" Common." It was at one time the resort of charcoal 
burners, but it is doubtful whether that sufficiently ex- 
plains the name. The probability is that the Common 


was sometime covered with tiees which were burnt down. 
Poeth-offrwm means " bumt-offeiir.g." 

Coed Talon. — Coed, wood, trees ; talon, plural form 
of tal, towering, high, tall. 

CoLESHiLL. — Literally, hill of coal. The Welsh 
name is Cwnsyllt, which mear-S the anvil of a smith, 
and the other English name, Englefield, means the 
field of the English, which was given to it, perhaps, 
because the Eail of Chester, and his followers were 
encamping there when Owain Gwynedd marched to 
meet him and impede his progress through his territory. 

Cilcain. — Cil, a place of reticat ; cain^iak, beau- 
tiful. Eurgain was the name of St. Asaph's niece. 
Pending the religious persecution that lagcd at the 
time, Eurgain lepaiied to a sequestered spot in this 
vicinity, built a cell there, and became a reUgious devo- 
tee. Shoitly afterwaids, she built a church near the 
cell, which was dedicated to her memory. 

CoEDLLAi. — Coed, wood ; llai, less. It is generally 
called in Enghsh Leeswood, taking llai to mean less ; 
but the proper English name is Lesswood. Owing to 
the abundance of wood in the district, Edward, befoie 
his conquest of Wales, was obliged to cut a passage 
through them ; hence there were less trees than bcfoie. 

DoLFFiN. — A compourd of dol, a dale, a meadow ; 
and ffin, boundary, limit. 

Dyserth. — Dysevth or diserth from latin desertus, 
a deseit. The village probably takes its name from 
the ancient castle which occupied the summit of the 
rock. In time of yore, it was known by the names 
of Dincolyn, Castell-y-Ffaidon, and Castell Ceri, and 


is supposed to have been the last of the chain of 
British posts on the Clwydian hills. Pennant calls 
it Dissarch. We have Dysart on the Firth of Foith, and 
Dyzard in Cornwall. 

Ffrith. — ^The right woidir.g, probably, is ffridd, a 
forest, a plantation. Ffiidd Celyddon, the forest of 
Calcdoria. The old Welsh fruith, and the modem 
Welsh ffrwyth from Latin fruit, fructus, belong to the 
same family of words. 

Garneddwen. — Carnedd, heap of stones, c;drn ; 
wen, white. 

Gelli. — Celli, a grove, a bowei. 

Glanyrafon. — Glan, brink, side, bank ; yr, the ; 
afon, river. Glanymor, the sea-shore. Glanydwr, the 
water-side. Glanyrafon, the river-side. 

Gop. — So called from its close proximity to Gop-ar- 
leni. — It means the top, the summit. Copa'r pen, the 
crown of the head. 

GwAENYSCOR. — A Corruption of gwaen, meadow ; is 
below ; caer, wall, fortress. 

GwESPYR. — Has nothing to do with gwesty, an inn, 
and pyr, lords, but is a corruption of Eng. Westbury. 

GwERN AFIELD. — A compound of gwern, a swamp, a 
bog ; and field. Perhaps gwern here means the common 
aider trees. 

Gronant. — Probably a compound of croyw, clear, 
sweet, fresh, and nant, a brook ; or gro-nant, sandbrook. 

Hanmer. — A mutation of Handmere, with the d 
and the final e omitted. Hand requires no comment ; 


mere, cognate with the Latin mare, sea, lake, or pool. The 
village is situated near a lake, which lies between its 
banks in the form of a man's hand. The celebrated bard 
Dafydd ab Edmunt was born in this palish. 

Hawarden. — A corruption of Haordine, which is 
really a Welsh name ; haw, fixed ; ar, upon ; den-din, 
hill ; signifying a castle built on a hill. In " Dooms- 
day " it is Harodin. The " Biut " calls it Penharddlech. 
Penard or Penarth Halawg is the Welsh name, which 
means the headland above the lake. Garth, hill, is 
forcibly expressed in the word lluarth, an entrenchment 
on the hill. Halawg comes from hal, salt marsh, referr- 
ing to the Saltney and other marshes, which were for- 
merly covered by the sea. The modem. Welsh name is 
Pennar Lag. Penard, high enclosure. Leg, lake. This 
place is world-renowned for having been the residence 
of the late Right Hon. W. E. Gladstone, M.P. 

Halkin. — A corruption of the Welsh name Helygen, 
which means a willow, a willow tree. At the time of 
the Norman Conquest, the district was called Alchene, 
a COD traction, probably, of Helygen. The village lies 
at the base of a mountain called Helygen. 

Holywell. — A free translation of Trefjynnon, so 
called from St. Winifred's Well, of legendary renown. 
The original meaning of holy is healing. The water of 
this well was believed to be efficacious in the 
cure of all corporeal infirmities. It discharges 21 tons 
of water in a minute. It is covered by a beautiful 
Gothic building, supposed to have been erected by 
Margaret, Countess of Richmond, mother of Henry VI. 

Hope. — The old name was Caergwrle, previously 


explained. Edward I. took possession of Castle Estyn 
June 1282, and bestowed it upon Queen Eleanor when 
on her journey to Carnarvon, where she gave birth to 
Edward II., the first Englishman that was titled Prince 
of Wales, from which circumstance the place was called 
Queen's Hope, and sometimes East Hope to distinguish 
it from North Hope. 

LicswM. — A compound of Hug, from Greek, lychos, 
and Latin htx, a light, a gleam ; and cwm, a dingle, a 
vale, signifying a luminous vale. 

Llanasa. — Asa is an abbreviation of Asaph, a 
popular saint of the sixth century, who succeeded St.. 
Cyndeyrn in the see of Llanelwy in 560. The church,, 
and hence the village, were named in honour of him. 
Pantasaph took its name from him. 

Llangynfarch. — Cynfarch, a prince of the North 
Britons, and a saint of the sixth century, founded the 
church, which was afterwards destroyed by the Saxons. 
in the battle of Bangor Orchard, 607. 

Llancilcen. — Cil, a hidden place ; Cen-cain, an 
abbreviation of Eurgain, niece to St. Asaph. She 
was the founder of the Church. Vide Cilcain. 

Llanerch-y-Mor. — Llanerch, a glade ; y, the ; mor, 
sea. This town, as its name signifies, is situate near 
the sea. 

Lloc. — ^The word means a mound, a dam, a fold. 
Lloc rhag y Llifeiriant, a dam against the flood. Llochi, 
to protect. Lloches, a covert, a refuge. Lock-gates- 
are employed on rivers and canals for penning back 


the water and forming locks. The word here probably 
implies a sheepfold. 

Llong. — Llong, a ship. The village derives its 
naiae from a small inn which had. the figure of a ship 
in full sail on its sign-boaid. 

Meliden. — This place is supposed to derive its 
name from the dedication of the church to St. Meliden 
-or Melid. 

Mancot. — A compound of iiian, a place, a spot ; 
and coed, wood. 

MosTYN. — A corruption, probably, of maes-ddin, 
Avhich signifies the fortress field. Thomas ap Richard 
ap Hywel ap Ithel Fychan, at the suggestion of Rowland 
Lee, Bishop of Lichfield, was the first to adopt the place- 
name, as a personal name. 

Mold. — Gwyddgrug is the Welsh name, which 
means " the conspicuous mount or hill," so called 
from the great heap (now known by the name Bryn 
Beili, Bailey hill, from the word ballitim, castle-yard), 
which is near the principal road. The prevalent opinion 
is, that this heap was once a towei of defence, which stood 
so conspicuously in the Vale of Alun, that it was called 
1' Wyddgnig. The Normans partially translated it I\Iont 
Haul, or Monthmdt, the high mount, and some think it 
may be a corruption of moel iad, bald pate. The name is 
obviously one of the few memoiials left us of the Norman 

Maesgarmon. — Named in honour of St. Gaimon, 
who, with Bishop Lupus, led the Britons against, and 
-obtained a glorious victory over the Pagan Saxons 
and Picts. This took place in Easter week, 440, and 



is to this day called the " Hallelujah yictory " Nehemiah 
Giifhths, Esq, of Rhual, erected an obelisk in 1736, with 
an insciiption to commemorate the event. 

Maelor. a corruption of mael, mart, and llawr, 
ground, signifying a place wheie trade could be cairied 
on unmolested, or it may be a variant form of maenor. 

Newmarket. — ^The old Welsh name was Rhiwlyf- 
nwyd, but Pennant calls it Treflawnyd, which signifies 
" a place full of com.." About the beginning of the 
i8th century, John Wyr.n, Esq., of Gop, the then owner 
of the estate succeeded in getting a market here, which 
had been a long-felt desideratum, and, probably, from that 
circumstance, the place was henceforth called Newmarket. 

Nannerch. — A compound oinant, a brook, and erch 
a dark colour, 

Nerquis. — A corruption of Nercwys ; ner, a sovereign; 
cwys, a furrow. Cwys dir, a furrow of land. 

Xorthop. — In ancient records the name is North- 
orpe, from North an.d Thorpe, the latter word is the 
Saxon for village or town. The appellation North was 
given to it in order to distinguish it from East Hope and 
East Thorp. 

Llaneurgain is the Welsh name, given from the 
church having been dedicated to Eurgain, the daughter 
of Maelgwn Gwynedd, and a saint of the 6th century. 
She died in 586. 

Overton. — A corruption of Owrtyn. It was anciently 
called Owrtyn Fadoc from Madoc ab Meredydd, the prince 
of Powys, who is supposed to have built a castle here. 
The town is situated on a rising eminence near the 
river Dee. 


Pentre Hobyn. — Pentre, a village ; hobyn, a pig. 
Hanerhob, a flitch or side of a hog. This place in ancient 
times was famous for its abundance of wild boars. Vide 
Rhos-hobyn, Denbigh. 

Penygelli. — Pen, head, end ; y, the ; gelli, grove. 

Penymynydd. — The name signifies a place situated 
■on a mountain. 

Pontbleiddyn. — Pont, a bridge ; bleiddyn, a wolf's 

Prestatyn. — A corruption of Pvysgoed-ddin. In 
ancient times there was a castle here called Prysgoed- 
ddin, evidently built by the Kymry, a few ruins of 
which still remain. Prys, a covert ; coed, wood ; din, 
fortress ; the name signifies a place of resort. Some 
say it is a corruption of Prys Tydain, Tydain's place of 
resort. Prys form a part of many names, Prysaddfed, 
Pryseddfod, Prystalyn, &c. 

Rhuddlan. — This name is variously derived. Some 
derive it from Robert de Rothelan, a military chief, 
who visited the place. Others derive it from rhudd, 
red ; and glan, bank, from the town being situated on 
the red banks of the rivei Clwyd. The castle was anciently 
called Castell Coch yn Ngwernfor, i.e., the red castle 
on the great plain. The most natural explanation is 
Rhyd-y-llan, the ford by the church. The name is written 
even now by the oldest inhabitants Rhydlan. There 
are three fords in the district ; Rhyd-y-ddau-ddwfr, the 
ford of the two waters, which is fordable to this day ; 
For-ryd, the ford by the sea ; and Rhyd-y-llan, the 
ford by the church. To the north of this ford, on an 
eminence, there is a church dating back many cen- 


turies ; and the ford is spanned by a bridge which dates 
back to 1595. Ere the building of this bridge, the 
church-goers, undoubtedly, were wont to cross the 
river by means of this ford, hence it was called Rhyd-y- 
llan. It is spelt by some Rhyddlan, perhaps from its 
having been made a free borough by Edward I., whose 
son was pioclaimed here the Prince of Wales, the first 
English Piince of Wales, 1283. In 1288, Edward I. 
held a parliament 01 a council here to divide his new con- 
quests into coun ties and to give laws to the Welsh. Morfa 
Rhuddlan is the celebrated marsh where that memorable 
battle was fought in 795 between the Saxons under Offa and 
and the Welsh under the vahant Caradog, when the last fell 
in the cor'.fl.ict. Many names in the vicinity point to the 
sad catastrophe, such as Bryn y saethau, hill of ariows ; 
Bryn y lladdfa, hill of slaughter ; Pant y gwae, the vale of 
woe ; Cae yr orsedd, field of the throne or tribunal. 

Rhyl. — ^This beautiful wateiing-place is situated 
at the extremity of Saltney marsh, which is called in 
Welsh Morfa yr Hal, or Yr Haleg. We find the names 
Penarleg rear Chester, and Plas-yr-hal near Ruthin, and 
an old mansion in the vicinity is called Ty'n y-Rhyl, 
which means a house in the salt marsh. Another 
suggestion is that the form Yr hel from hela, the hunt- 
ing grourd of Rhuddlan Castle, gave rise to the name. 

Saltney. — An abbreviation of Salteney, which is a 
translation of the Welsh halenog, abounding with salt. 
The site of the present village was nothing better than 
a marsh until the year 1778. 

Sealand. — Soon after the incorporation of " The 
River Dee Company," in 1740, six hurdred acres of 


the waste marsti land of this district were purchased 
from the lord and freeholders of the manor of Hawarden, 
through which a new channel was cut for the Dee, and 
soon afterwards some thousands of acres of the sands 
were redeemed, which are now covered with good crops 
of com, &c. ; hence the name Sealand. 

Trallon. — A compound of tra-llwng, beyond the 
marsh, adjoining the marsh, a sinking place, a quagmire. 

Trelan. — A compound of tref, a place, and llan, a 
church. The parish church is in Trelan. 

Tremeirchion. — Tref, place ; meirchion, a plural 
form of march ; a word denoting a line of demarcation,, 
made of rods or poles. Compare Marchwiail, Denbigh- 

Treuddyn. — The name is variously spelt. Treuddyn 
Tryddyn, and Treddyn. The latter is the most acceptable. 
Tre, a dwelling ; dyn, a man. 

Talar. — The name means a headland in a field. 
Tal, head or end ; ar, land, ploughed land. 

Tre'r Abbot. — The abbot's habitation. 

Wepre. — A corruption of Gwybre, its ancient name. 
Gwy, water ; bre-bryn, a hill. The place is situated on 
the river Dee. 

YscEiFiOG. — A corruption of Yscawog, abounding 
with ysgaw, the elder wood. The correct name of the 
palish is Llan fair Ysceifiog, so called, it is supposed,, 
from its abundance of elder wood. 


Aberavon. — Aber means the mouth of a river, a par- 
ticular point at which the lesser water discharges itself 
into the greater. Professor Rhys derives it from ber, the 
Celtic equivalent of fer, in Latin jer-o, Greek phero, 
English bear. Its pristine meaning was a volume of 
water which a river bears or brings into the sea, or into 
another river, but the general meaning assigned to it 
now is an estuary, a confluence, the mouth of a river. 
It is cognate with the Norman French haver, and the 
Irish inver. 

This ancient town was originally called Aber-Afan, 
from its situation at the mouth of the river Afan. Some 
derive Afan from Ban, height ; but we are inclined 
to think the word is related to one of those many roots 
that contain the idea of motion. Compare the Sansc. 
a, ap ; obs. Gael, ahh ; Irish Abhaini, Celtic Awon ; 
Anton, Afan, and Aman. 

Aberaman. — This place takes its name from the 
junction of the river Aman with that of the Cynon. 
For Aman see Aberavon. 

Aberbarri. — A small parish in the Cantrev of Dinas 
Powys. Some think the postfix comes from Baruch, a 
disciple of Gilsach, who was buried in Barry Island in 700. 

Abercanaid. — The rivulet Canaid discharges itself 
here into the river Taff, hence the name. Canaid means 
white, pure, bright. 

Abercenffig. — Cenffig is a corruption of Cefn-y- 
FiGEN, the ridge, or elevated ground above the bog. 


Abercwmboy. — Some say that boy is a corrupted 
form of bwci, bugbear, hobgoblin, from a tradition that 
a hobgobUn once haunted the place. Bwci was in course 
•of time reduced to bo, and ultimately y was added. We 
rather think the right wording is Aber-cwmbwaau. 
Bwa is the Welsh for bow. 

The place is also called Cap Coch, red cap. There 
was a public house here as early as 1650, and tradition 
has it that the eccentric landlord who was also a cock- 
fighter, was wont to wear a red cap on a cock-fighting day, 
hence the name. 

Abercynon. — Cynon means the chief brook or 

Aberdar. — Some think that the river Dar takes its 
name from the abundance of oak trees [coed dar neu derw) 
that grew upon its banks. Others derive it from du-ar ; 
dit, black ; ar, arable ground. The right wording pro- 
bably is dyar, which signifies sound, noise, or din, 
so called perhaps from its noisy waterfalls in the upper 
part of the valley. In Aberdyar we have the name in 
its pristine form. 

Aberdulais. — From its situation at the junction of 
the rivers Nedd and Dulais Du, black, and dais a brook, 
river. A little distance from the village the ruin of one of 
the most ancient tinworks in the count}' still remains. 
It is called Ynysygerwyn. Ynys anciently signified a 
quasi-island in the marshes. Bonedd y Saint says that 
Gerwyn, son of Brychan, was killed in Ynysgerwyn. 

Aberddawen. — Ddawen signifies the silent river. 

Aberfan. — Ban, high ; alban, the upper part. The 
brook FAN discharges itself here into the river Taff. The 


village is also called Ynys Owen, Owen's island, from a 
farm of that name. 

Abergwynfi. — From a farm so called which is 
situated at the mouth of the brook Gwynfv. Gwynfai, 
blessed plain. 

Aberrant. — The full name is Aberrant- y-Wexallt: 
nant, brook ; y, the ; we7i, feminine of gwyn, white ; allt:::^ 
•gallt, a woody slope or eminence. Nant originally meant 
a \'ery narrow deep ravine or valley, but it now refers 
in South Welsh only to the stream that flows through it. 

Abertridwr. — Tri-dwr, three waters, so called from 
the situation of the place at the junction of three brooks. 

Sion Cent, the famous bard and classical divine was 
born here about the year 1350. 

Abwrthin. — A corruption, probably, of Aberthin, 
which signifies a place of sacrifices. It is supposed that 
Druidical sacrifices were offered here. 

Alltwex. — Allt, a cliff ; gallt goed, a woody slope or 
eminence ; wen, feminine of givyn, white. 

Baglax. — An abbreviation of Llanfaglan. The 
church \\-as dedicated to Baglan, a Welsh saint of the 6th 
century, and son of Dingad, the son of Nudd Hael. 

Bargod. — The full name is Pont-aber-Bargod, 
signifying the bridge near where the river Bargod flows 
into the river Rhymney. Originally the river-name means 
a boundary or march. Bargodiox means the marches of 
Wales. Comp. the Latin margo, ' margin.' 

Barry. — The island belonged to the family of 
Giraldus de Barry, who were lords of the island, and gave 
their name to it. A person of that name was one of the 


inquisitors in the survey of the Lordship of Glamorgan 
in 1262. 

Bedlinog. — Some think it is a corruption either of 
Bedd llwynog, fox's grave, or Bod-llv^^ynog, fox's 
house. There is a farm adjoining called Blaenllwynog. 
We rather think the right wording is Bedw, birch trees ; 
and llwynog having a grove. The old house, from which 
the village is named, is almost surrounded by birch 

The village is also called Cwmfelin, from an old 
miU in the place. 

Berthlwyd. — From a farm so named. Berth= 
perth, bush ; llwyd, venerable, blessed ; the name signify- 
ing the sacred bush. We are told that the Baptists were 
wont to preach the Gospel and administer the Lord's 
Supper in this house as early as 1610. 

BiSHOPSTOX. — The Welsh name is Llaxdeilo Fer- 
wallt. The church is dedicated to Bishop Teilo. Ber- 
WALLT is a compound of benr, the water-cress, and gallt, 
a wooded declivit}'. In the ''Liber Landavensis " it is 
spelt Lanberugall. 

Blackmill. — This is a semi-translation of the Welsh 
name Melin Ifan Ddu. Melin, mill ; Ifan, Evan, the 
owner of the mill, who lived in a farm called D6l Ifax 
Ddu ; hence the name.. 

Black Pill. — Pill is a corruption of the Welsh pil, 
a creek, a small islet of the sea. The hamlet probably 
took its name from the blackened stumps of a submerged 
forest which are to be seen all along the shore. 

Blaengwrach, — The place lies near the source 
(blaen) of the rivulet Gwrach, cwr, extremity, and ach. 


water (?) ; the word signifying a ri\-er flowing at the 
extreme end of a vale. 

Blaenllechau. — Blaen is frequently used as a pre- 
fix in the names of places that are situated at the extreme 
«nd of a valley or near the sources of brooks and rivers. 
The river Llechau was so called probably from the rocky 
or slaty nature of its channel. 

Blaenycwii. — C'd-m, a low place enclosed with hills. 
The Saxonised forms are comb, combe, and cum. This 
village is situate at the extreme end of the Rhondda 
Valley, hence the name. 

BoDRiNGALLT. Bod, a dwelling place. It originally 
meant a lord's residence, and in course of time the word 
was used to denote any house, or residence, or abode. 
Ringallt is variously derived. Some think it is a corrupt 
form of rhyngyll, a summoner, from the supposition that 
Cadwgan y Fwyall, the summoner, took up his abode 
here. Some think the right wording is dringallt 
dring, to climb ; and galU, an ascent, a slope. 

BoNviLSTONE. — The Welsh name, Tresimwn, and the 
English name, Bonvilstone, were bestowed upon the place 
in honour of Simon Bonville, the chief steward of Sir 
Robert Fitzhamon. The Normans gave their own names 
to many villages in the vale of Glamorgan for the simple 
reason that they could not enunciate the Welsh names. 

Bridgend. — The Welsh name in full is Penybont-ar- 
Ogwy, 'Bridgend on the Ogmore. The two townships, 
into which the town is divided take their names from the 
Oldcastle and Newcastle, built by the Noimans. 

Briton Ferry. — The Welsh name in the sixteenth 
century was Llan-is-awel, the sheltered church, but the 


most popular form is Llansawel, from the rhurch being 
dedicated to Sawyl Benuchel. In ancient M.S.S. the 
place is called Bert on Ferry, and Brittone Ferry. Some 
say that Moigan ab Caradog ab lestyn erected a 
wooden tower on the river-side to stop the Normans 
from crossing the Ferry on their way from Aberogvvr to 
Cy dwell. 

Brithdir. — This word means land or soil of medium 
quality. Briton is denved by som.e from brith, spotted, 
or parti-coloured. 

Broughton. — From an old form of brook. The root 
is Barrow, a sepulchral m.ound form_ed of earth or stones. 
Several tumuli or barrows were found on each side of 
the road from Llantwit Major to Ewenny, hence the name. 

Bryncethix. — Some say it is so called after a man 
named Gethin, but we offer the following derivation,. 
bryii, a hill ; cethiii, dark, terrible. 

Bryncoch. — From a farm so called. Bryn, a hill ; 
coch, red, is frequently applied to a sun-parched field or 

Brynxa. — A villa;, e perched on the hills near 
Pencoed, hence Brynna-brvniait, hills. 

Beynsadler. — An old thatched house on the site 
of the present Calvinistic Methodist chapel was called 
Ty'r Sadler, the sadler's house. In the deeds of the 
above chapel Ty'r Sadler is the description given of the 
site whereon the edifice is built. Tradition has it that a 
saddler occupied the house about 200 years ago. The 
saddler's house, in course of time, developed into Bryx- 
sadler, the Sadler's hill. 


Bryntroedgam. Some think the right wording is. 
Bryntroedygarn, but we rather take it with its iroed- 
gam, crooked foot, the word signifying a place at the 
crooked foot of a hill, which is in full correspondence 
with the physical aspect of the place. 

BuTETOWN. — The village takes its name in honour 
of the father of the late Marquis of Bute. 

Cabalfa. — Some spell it Cae-balja, ferry or ford 
fields. There are several fords and ferries over the river 
both in upper and lower Cabalfa. Some think it is a cor- 
rupt form of ceu-hawlfa, a scooped out trunk of a tree, 
the old Kimmric name for a canoe. It is probably a cor- 
rupt form, of Ceubalfa, which signifies a ferrying-place. 
The village with all its lands and commonage was given 
by Gwyddgen, son of Brochwael, to Bishop Oudoceus, 
" in exchange for the heavenly kingdom." (Liber Lan- 
davensis, p. 394). 


Cadle. — Cdd, battle, a field of battle ; Cad ar faes, 
a pitched battle ; le-lle, place ; signifying a place of battle. 
Cad is derived from the Sanscrit Kad, to hurt or kill. 

Cadoxton. — The church was dedicated to Catwg, 
Sant, ap Gwynlliw ap Glywys ap Tegid ap Cadell Deyrn- 
llwg, hence the Welsh nam.e Llangattwg. The Saint was 
called Catwg the wise, from his superior wisdom in all 

Caerau. — Caer is an enchorial name for a wall or 
m.ound for defence, such as the wall of a city or castle. The 
root is cau, to shut up, to fence, to enclose with a hedge. 
Cae is a field enclosed with hedges. Caerau is the 
plural of caer. This place derives its nam_e from an old fortress or encampment, called " Tibia Amne." 


Caerphili. — Opinions differ as to the origin of the 
postfix PHiLi or FFiLi. The original name of the place was 
Senghenydd (Saint Cenydd) who founded a seminary here. 
When the saint m.oved to Gower he left the seminary 
under the care of his son Ffili, who built a caer, fortress 
or defensive wall round it, hence it was called Caer 
Ffili, according to some, but we rather think the right 
wording is Caer Philip. The castle was in the possession 
of Philip de Braose, in the 12th century. Having 
enlarged it, his name was probably conferred upon it. 

Cardiff. — Many forms of the name have been found. 
The first was probably " Cairti." In 1126 it was spelt 
Kardi, but later on the form was Kaerdiv, when it began 
to be modified in two directions, one towards Kaerdeethe, 
and the other towards Kaerdeef . The former is the Welsh 
modification, and the latter the Enghsh modification, 
hence Caerdydd and Cardiff. In a grant by King 
John in 1205 it is spelt Kaerdif. In JISS. that range 
from the thirteenth to the sixteenth centuries the form 
is Kaer Dyf. lolo Morganwg gives Caer Dyf and the 
mahinogion Kaer diff. The dd in Caerdydd may be 
accounted for by the com.m.on colloquial change of F to 
DD, as goDDerbyn for gyrerbyn. The correct wording, 
probably, is Caerdaf, a fortress on the Taff. 

Caersalem Newydd. — A straggling village between 
Swansea and Llangyfelach. It was known by the name 
TiRDEUNAW until the Baptists erected a splendid chapel 
in the place and called it Caersalem Newydd, which is 
by interpretation. New Jerusalem. 

Casllwchwr. The full name is Castell Llwchwr, 
the castle of Loughor. The castle was built on a hillock 
above the estuary of the river Llwchwr, hence the name. 


Llwch, an inlet of water, a lake, a lough ; wr — dwr, water. 
It corresponds to the Irish lough, the guttural ch changed 
into gh ; the Scotch loch, and the English lake. The 
expanse of the water at the place resembles a lake. 
The place was anciently called Treafanc, from the 
great number of beavers abounding in the contiguous 
waters, afanx being the old Welsh for beaver. The 
Romans had a station here called Leucarum, which 
was the fifth on the road known as Via Julia. 

Castella. — A corrupt form of Castellau, plural 
form of Castell, castle. The place was probably an out- 
post to the Llantrisant castle. 

Cefnpennar. — Cefx in place-names means a high 
ridge. The Chevin Hills in Yorkshire, and Cevennes in 
France, derive their nam_es from the same root. Some 
think pexxar is a mutation of fenor, bright, fair ; but we 
rather think it is a corruption of Pen-ar, the end of 
the arable land. 

Cellywion. Some think the correct wording is 
Celli Gwion, Gwion's grove, whilst others incline to 
think it is a mutilated form of Celliwyn, the white 

Cerryg Li.wydion. — Cerryg, stones, Uwydion, plural 
of llwyd, grey ; so called from a number of grey stones 
in the place. 

Cheriton. a parish in Gower, originally, called 
■Cherry Town, from its abundance of cherries in, olden 

CiLFYNYDD. — CU, a sequestered place, a place of 
retreat. Cil-y-Uygad, the corner of the eye. We find 
the root in cilio, to retreat, to go away ; and in Cilfach, 


a place to retreat to, a creek, a nook. In early times 
churches were built in sequestered places, but in Scotland 
and Ireland kil, signifying a church, is not the same word. 
Mynydd, mountain ; the name signifies a mountain recess, 

CiLYPEBYLL. — CU, a Sequestered place ; y, the ; 
pebyll, tents ; the name signifies the retreat of the tents. 
It was customary in olden times to repair to temporary 
abodes in sequestered and quiet places in the summer. 
The ancient seat of the Herberts was situate in a seques- 
tered glen in this parish, where they retired in the summer, 
in order to indulge in the rural enjoym.ent of the district. 

CiLFFRiw. — Cil, a place of retreat ; ffriw, mien, coun- 
tenance, visage. The name is applied to hill tops 
and eminences. 

CiMLA. — A corruption probably of ceimle, a portion 
of land not owned by anybody, but used occasionally by 

Clwydyfagwyr. — Chvyd, a hurdle, a wattled gate ; 
y, the ; fagwyr^magwyr, a structure, a wall, an enclosure. 
Magwyr is frequently used to signify the remains of a 
dem.olished or decayed building, fortress, &c. In the 
district of Gwent it means a house, a dwelling. 

Clydach. — A few villages and rivers in the county 
bear the name. Some derive the name from cludo, to 
carry. Others trace it to the Gaelic dith, strong. We have 
the Clyde in Scotland, the Glyde in Ireland, and the 
Clwyd in Wales. We offer the following derivation : 
dyd, sheltering, warm., comfortable. Lie clyd, a cosy, 
comfortable place. Ach, a river ; the nam.e signifying 
a river flowing through a sheltering place. 


CoEDFFRANC. — The name signifies '' the Norman's 
wood." The parish takes its name from a farm so named. 

Clyxe,— A corrupt form of dun, a meadow or field, 
or it may be a corruption of dyn, a place covered with 

CoGAN. — A corruption of Gnvgan, the name of a Welsh 
personage, according to some. We rather think the 
place takes its name from Cogan, one of the leading 
Norman settlers, who held lands at Huntspill. Sir 
Milo de Cogan was one of the conquerors and settlers 
in the South of Ireland, and the same family probably 
gave their name to this place. 

CoRLANAU. — A small village between Abera\-on and 
Cwmavon. The name is the plural form of corlan, 
a sheepfold. The place is conveniently situated for folding 
the flock. 

CoRNELLY. — A manor near Cenffig, which gave or 
received its name to or from some early Norman settlers. 
Thomas de Cornell gave ten acres of arable land in his fee 
of Cornelly to Neath before the 9 John. (Arch. Camb. 
XIV. 195). 

CoRNTWN. — Corntown, a down or hilly tract of land 
where corn was grown. 

CoRSEiNiON. — Cors, a bog ; Einion, the name of a 
descendant of Howel the Good. He led an army twice to 
Gower, and probably encamped here before he reached 
his destination. Port Eynon also preserves his name. 
Einion means " our leader." 

CoYCHURCH. — ^The prefix is a contraction of coed, wood,, 
the name signifying the church in the wood. Pencoed 


and Coetty are not far distant. The Welsh name is Llan- 
GRALLO. Llan, church ; Crallo, the name of the founder 
and patron saint of the church, and a nephe-w to lUtyd. 
Mynydd y Gaer, the fortress on the mountain, is in this 
parish, where the remains of an old Roman camp are sup- 
posed to be seen. 

Coetty. — Coed, wood ; tv, house ; signifying a wood- 
house, or a house in the wood, Bod, was the residence of a 
superior, but ;■)' is of a later date, signifying an ordinary 
house, a cottage. The two d's as in Coed-dy, are gener- 
ally hardened in pronunciation into t. Diotty comes from 

Craigcefnparc. — Craig, a high rock, or crag ; cefn, 
ridge, back ; pare, a iield, an enclosure. Craig takes the 
form of carraig, carrick, carrig, crick, &c. Pare is equi- 
valent to cae, a piece of land enclosed with hedges, and is 
used in that sense in the south-west counties. Compare 
the English ' park ' which has a m.ore extensive m.eaning. 

Crossvane. — Croesfaen is the correct wording, 
which signifies the cross stone. In the time of Howel the 
Good, stone crosses were used chiefly to mark land pro- 
perty, and sometimes they were set up to caution pedes- 
trians not to cross the fields. Those with the names of 
British saints inscribed upon them were placed on the road- 
side to commemorate the blessed fact that the glad tidings 
had been preached there. 

Crwys. — A corrupt form of croes, a cross. When a 
corpse is lying in its shroud, it is said to be ' dan ei grwys,' 
' under the cross,' from the Popish custom of putting a 
cross on the bosom of the dead. We find the word in 
Bwlchycrwys, Pantycrwys, &c. 


Crynant. — Some think the prefix is crai, implying a. 
narrow place ; crai V nodwydd, the eye of the needle ; 
nant, a brook ; the name signifying a brook that has to 
make its way through an extremely narrow place. We 
rather think it is a contraction of Croyw-nant, the clear 

Cwmafox. — The place was originally called Cwm- 
BYCHAX, the little vale, from a place which is situate near 
Woodland Row, and in order to distinguish it from 
CwjiJiAWR, the large comb, hard by. The right wording 
is CwM Af.-vn. Cwm, a low place, enclosed with hills ; 
A/an, the name of the river that flows through it. For 
Afan see Aberavon. 

CwMAMAX.- Cmvm, a low place enclosed with hills. 
For Aman see Aberavon. 

CwMBACH. — The name signifies a small vale, from an 
old cottage bearing the name. 

CwiiBWRLA. — In old documents the name is spelt 
' CvvM-BwRLAis.' Civm, vale ; burr, ebullition ; dais, 
a little rivulet ; the name, therefore, signifies the bubbling 
rivulet running through the combe. Some think the true- 
orthography is CwM-BwRLE ; bwr, a place of defence ; 
le-Ue, a place. " Ni sefis na thwr na bur " — " there stood 
nor town nor wall ! " 

Cwm Garw. — Garw, rough. The river Llyfnwy, 
smooth water, is not far distant, and in order to introduce- 
a little variety in nature, the river Garw rushes \-ery hur- 
riedly and noisily through a wild and rugged valley. The- 
Gaelic garble, perhaps, belongs to the same class of roots. 
We find Garry in Perth and Inverness, Yarrow in Sel- 
kirk, Garonne in France, and Guer in Brittany. 


CwMGiEDD. — GiEDD is the name of the rivulet that 
runs through the vale. Some have derived it from Gwy- 
eidden, noisy water, in contradistinction from its neighbour 
Llyfnell, the smooth or silent water. Gwy~ydd 
literally means waterer or aquatic. Gwvach, gwylan, 
gwydd, Itwyad, are all aquatic birds. 

CwiiGWR.'^CH. — Cicm, a narrow vale ; gwrach, a fairy 
•or witch. 

CwMLLYNFELL. — Llyfnell is the right wording, 
which means the smooth or silent river. 

CwM Ogwy. — The valley of the Ogwy river. Og, apt 
to move, and gwy, water. 

Cwmehydyceirw. — Rhyd, ford ; y, the ; Ceirw, 

CwMTWRCH. — The river Twrch rushes furiously 
through the place and empties itself into the river Tawy. 
Tyrchtt, to turn up, to burrow. The mole is called in Welsh 
twrch daear, from, its burrowing nature. 

Cwmygors. — Cit'm, com_be ; y, the ; gors-cors, a bog, 
a fen. 

Cymmer. — The word means the junction of two ri^■ers 
or brooks bearing the same nam.e, such as Cymmer Cefn- 
COED, v/here the Taf favrr and the Taf fechan join ; and 
Cymmer Glyx Rhondda, where the Rhondda fach 
empties itself into Rhondda P^awr ; and Cymmer Glyx 
CoRRWG, where the Corrwg fach loses itself in Corrwg 

Derl — Deri means oaks, and is cognate with Derry 
and Kildare. The village takes its name from a fann so 
called, which is situate in a place abounding with oaks. 


The place is also called Darran, from Darren ysgwydd- 
gwyn, which overlooks the valley in a very majestic 
manner. Darren — rocky hill. 

DiNAS. — The place was originally called Dinas y Glo, 
the coal city, on accomit of its being so abundantly 
blessed with the black diamond. The word is derived 
from din, a fortified hill, a camp. Compare the Irish 
■dun, the Anglo-Saxon iun, the Roman dinium, and the 
English town. 

Dinas Powis. — The m.ost popular opinion is that 
Denis is the correct wording here. When lestyn ab 
-Gwrgant married Denis, the daughter of Bleddyn ab Cyn- 
fyn. Prince of Powys, he built a magnificent mansion for 
her about 1043, and called it Denis Powys, in honour of 
his wife. 

DowLAis. — Opinions differ widely as to the derivation 
of this name. Some derive it from du, black ; and dais, a 
little trench or rivulet. Others say it is a corruption 
of DwYLAis, from the confluence of the two brooks in 
the place. We offer the following : du, black ; glas, 
blue, signifying the livid \vater. River-names are 
frequently derived from the respective hue of their 
waters. Dulais is of frequent occurrence in Welsh 
topography. We have five Dulas, at least, in Wales ; 
three in Scotland ; and one in Dorset. It has different 
form,s : Douglas in the Isle of ]\Ian, in Scotland, in 
Ireland, and in Lancashire ; Doulas in Radnor ; Dowles 
in Salop ; Dawlish in Devon ; and Dowlais in Glamorgan 

Dyffryn. — Dwjr, water ; and hynt, a way, a course ; 
the word signifying a vale through which a river takes its 
course. Dyffrynt was anciently used to denote a river. 


The village is situate near Dyffryn Goluch, the valley 
of worship or adoration. Golychwyd means worship or 
adoration. " Amser i jwyd, ac amser i olychwyd," 
"There is time for meat and time for worship." It is 
supposed that the ancient Druids met together in this- 
vale to celebrate the m.ysterious rites of their religion. 

Efail Facil — Gefail, a smithy ; fach, bach, small, 
little ; ' so called from a smithy in the place. 

Eglwys Brewis. — Eglwys, church. The ancient 
llan has been superseded by the ecclesiastical term 
eglwys in many places in the Principality. Brewis is diffi- 
cult to explain. The roots, perhaps, are bre, hill ; and 
wys, rest, signifying the hill or place of rest; Or it may be 
a corrupt form of Breos, from William De Braeos, who 
was consecrated Bishop of Llandaff in 1265. 

Eglwys Ilan. — In lolo MSS., p. 637, we are told that 
Elian founded the church. Others think it was dedicated 
to Elen Deg (the Fair) the sculptor of Morgan the Cour- 
teous. The derivation is supported by the fact that 
CwM Elen Deg, the fair Elen's vale, is in this parish. 

Ely. — The ^'\'elsh name is Trdai, the river Llai, 
which, according to some, means a dun-coloured water,, 
runs through the place. We rather think the correct 
wording is Elwy ; el, active, swift ; and n'y-gwy, water ; 
the name signifying the active or rushing river. 

Ewenny. — Ewyn-wy, the frothy water, is the name 
of the river that flows through the place. Some think 
the correct wording is y-wen-wy, the white water. 


Felindre. — The word, perhaps, is a corrapt form of 
vileindref, or mileindref , a township under villain soccage 
tenure ; a county farm. 

Flatholm. — The Norse " holme " means an island, 
generally an island in a lake or river. 

FocHRiw. — ^The physical aspect of the place has 
induced some to derive the name from moch, ready, quick, 
swift ; and rhiw, slope ; signifying a steep hill-side. 
Moch-ddivyreog, quickly rising. Boch, check, and iach, 
little, have been suggested as the prefix. We rather derive 
the nam.e from moch, pigs ; and rhiw, slope. Rhiw'r 
Fuwch, the slope of the cow, on the other side of the 
mountain, induces us to think that this is the slope of 
the pigs. 

Flemingstoke. — The ancient name was Llanfi- 
HANGEL-Y-iWYN, St. Michael's church on the hill. Some 
think the present name is derived from the fact that the 
Flemings settled in the parish of Llantwit Major in the time 
of Queen Elizabeth ; but we are inclined to think the place 
was named in honour of Sir John Fleming, one of Sir 
Robert Fitzhamon's knights, to whom he gave the 
manors of St. George, Llanfaes, &c. 

Fforchdwm. — Fforch, fforchi, to fork, to part into 
two ; and twm, a round heap ; the name signifying a hil- 
lock forming a divergent point between two vales, which 
is in full correspondence with the physical aspect of the 

Gadlys. — The roots are cad, battle, battlefield ; 
and llys, court. This name is a momento of that terrible 
battle fought in the upper part of the Aberdare Valley, 
between Rhys ab Tewdwr, and lestyn ab Gwrgant. 


Garnant. — The roots are garw, rough ; and nant, 
a glen. The old name of the place was Cross Keys. 
Gellideg. — Gelli, grove ; deg,z=zteg, fair. 

Gelligaer. — The name signifies a m.ilitary station 
in a^woody place, and derived from Caer Castell, the 
remains of which are still to be seen. It was built by 
lorwerth ab Owen in 1140 or 1240. In this parish we find 
traces of an old Roman road, named Strata Julia, from 
Maretima Julius Fontinus or Frontinus, which took its 
course from Caerleon to Brecon. 

Gellionen. — Gdli, grove ; onnen, ash tree ; signify- 
ing the ash grove. 

Gelly. — Gelli means a wood, a grove, a copse. Cell 
originally meant a grove, and the Irish coill has an iden- 
tical meaning. The aborigines of Scotland were called 
Gcevill davin, ' the people of the wood." 

Gileston. — Llanfabon-y-Fro is the \\'elsh name, 
from the dedication of the church to St. Mabon, and its 
situation in the vale of Glamorgan. The English name 
was bestowed upon the place by the Giles famity, whose 
pedigree seems not to have been preserved. 

GiLFACH GoCH. — Cilfach, a place of retreat ; coch, 
red. The place appears to have taken its name from a 
aeap of red cinders, which still remains as a momento of 
the ironworks that stood there in time of yore. Ruins of 
jld furnaces are still to be seen in the vicinity. 

Glais. — Glais means a trench through which a stream 
of water flows. It is som.etimes used to denote the stream 
itself, and not the trench through which it runs. 

Glanybad.— G/fl«, bank, side, brink ; y, the ; had, 


Glyncorrwg. — Glyn, a vale narrower but deeper 
than a dyffryn, through which a river flows. Compare 
the Gaehc gleann, and the Anglo-Saxon glen, both signify- 
ing a small narrow valley. Two rivulets called Corrwg 
embrace each other in the glen. Corrwg is variously 
derived. Some have derived it from Gorwg ab Eir- 
CHiox ; others from carrog, an obsolete form for brook. 
Another explanation is : corr, a Celtic name for sheep ; 
corlan, sheep-yard ; and wg, unplying a place or locality. 
It is said that a certain farmer here was wont to keep as 
many as two or three thousand sheep at the time. 

Glyxnedd. — Glyit, glen ; 7iedd, river-name. (See 

Gower. — The root is gwyr^^gwyro, to deviate, to 
swerve, suggested probably by the deviation of the 
peninsula from the mainland, and its irregular character. 

GowERTON. — ^The old name was Gower Road, from 
its physical connection with Gower, but at a vestry meet- 
ing of the ratepayers of the parish of Loughor, held October 
15th, 1885, it was unanimously passed : " That the name 
of this village be changed from Gower Road to Gowerton." 
The necessary arrangements were made for the new 
name to be adopted January ist. 1886. 

Goytre. — Coed, wood ; and tre, a dwelling place, 
signifying either a dwelling in a wood, or a house built 
of wood. 

Groeswen. — Croes, cross ; wcn^gwyn, white ; liter- 
ally the word means ' white cross,' but figuratively ' blessed 
cross.' In olden times, white was an emblem of purity, 
and, therefore, a source of blessedness. 


Grove's End. — A village near Gorseinon. It takes 
its name from a farm so called. 

GwAELODYGARTH. — Gwaelod, bottom, base ; y, the ; 
garth originally meant an entrenchment on a hill, but in 
course of time it came to signify a ridge, a hill, a rising 
eminence, a promontory. Compare the Norse garth, the 
Persian gird, the Anglo-Saxon yard, and the \\'elsh 
gardd. The mountain that towers above the place is called 
Mynydd-y-Garth, and the village resting quietly at its 
base is called Gwaelod-y-Garth. 

GwARYCAEAU. — Gifdr, the nape of the neck ; y, the ; 
caeatt, fields. These fields belong to a farm called Ty 
draw, above which a few houses were built and called 
Gwarj'caeau. The place has now developed into a strag- 
gling ^"illage. 

GvFEiLLiox. — Some think the name is a mutilated 
form of Gafaelox. Gafael means the share which each 
brother held in their father's land, however numerous the 
brothers were. Gafael cenedl the hold or tenure of a 
family. In an old document the name is Ynys Gof- 
HOELiox, the nailor's island. 

Hafod. — Haj-hod. summer residence. Hendref was 
a verv common appellation in olden times for residence 
in the valley, and Hafod or Hafotty was used to signify 
a residence in the hills. The hafod consisted of a long 
low room, with a hole at one end to the smoke 
from the fire which was made beneath. Its stools were 
stones, and beds were made of hay ranged along the 

Hendre. — Hen, old ; tref, homestead. Hvdnf 
October), was the harvest season — the time to gather 


thg' produce of the fields to the barns, and leave the 
hafod, summer-house to spend the winter months in the 
hendref, the older establis'iment. 

Hendrefadog. — Hendre, already explained ; ■madog= 
madoc, beneficial, goodly. Madog also is a rare nam_e for a 

Hexgoed. — Hen, old, aged ; coed, wood. 

Heolyfelin. — Mill Street is a translation of the name, 
so called from the old mill that stood on the river Cynon. 
It is also called Trecynon from its situation on the banks 
of the Cynon. Cynon, Cyn, chief. 

HiRWAUX. — Hir, long ; waun, meadow. It was 
anciently called Hirwaun Gwrgaxt, Gwrgant's long 
meadow. In olden times it extended from Blaengwrach 
to Mountain Ash, a distance of ten miles. 

HoPKiNSTOWN. — The place was so called in honour 
of Henry Hopkin, a landowner, about 40 years ago. 

Ilstox. — II is an abbreviated form of lUtyd, Iltutus, 
the name signifying lUtyd's town. Llanilltyd is the 
Welsh name, from the dedication of the church to Illtyd, 
a descendant of Emyr Llydaw, and a saint of the fifth 

Kenffig Mill. — Some spell it Cefn-y-figen, the ridge 
above the swamp. The spelling in the Abbey deeds 
is almost invariably Kenefeg. Cen and pen are synony- 
mous, hence we are inclined to think the right wording is 
Cen-y-ffig, the head of the swamp. 

Killay. — CiLFAi is the right wording ; oil, a seques- 
tered place ; fai=mai, a plain. 


Laleston. — Trelales is the Welsh name, which 
means the town of Lales. De Grenville went on a pil- 
grimage in mi to the Holy Land, and brought back 
with him an architect named Lalys. He built Neath 
Abbey, Margam Abbey, and several castles and man- 
sions in Wales. 

Landore. — Glandwr is the correct wording ; 
glan, bank ; dwr, water. The old farmstead, which 
gave the name to the place, was situate on the banks 
of the Tawy. 

Langland. — The right wording is Longland, so 
called from the promontory that forms one of the horns of 
the bay. 

Lavernock. — This is probably a Norman corruption 
of Llanwernog, or Llywernog, which signifies a church 
on a meadow. 

Leckwith. — ^This name is another instance of the sad 
havoc the Normans played with Welsh names when they 
settled in Glamorgan in the eleventh century. It is a cor- 
ruption of llechwedd, the steep or shelving of a hill. 

Lewistown. — So called in honour of W. Lewis, Esq., 
Bontnewydd House, because the village is situate on his 

Llanbedr-ar-Fynydd. — Llanbedr-ar-fynydd has 
been translated Peterstone-super-Montem. At the Nor- 
man Conquest Fitzhamon divided the country between 
his followers, when Sir Peter le Soore was rewarded with 
the lordship of Peterstown, which he called after his own 
Christian name. 

Llanbedr-y-fro. — The church was called Llanei- 
NYDD until the Norman Conquest in 1091. It was built 


by Rhys ab Einydd, Prince of Glamorgan, hence the name. 
After the Conquest the parish fell into the hands of Sir 
Peter le Soore, hence the new name Llanbedr, Peter's 
Church, which is situate on the river Ely in the beauti- 
ful vale of Glamorgan. 

Llanblethian. — History tells us that Bleiddian 
(Lupus) a contemporary of Garmon, founded the first 
church here in the sixth century. The root is blaidd, a 
translation from lupus, a wolf. 

Llancarfan. — We are informed that in this place 
the first monastery was built in Britain by Germanus, 
from which circumstance lolo Morganwg thinks that 
Llancarfan signifies the church of Germanus, Carfan 
being a corruption of the saint's name. Others are of 
opinion that the monastery was founded by Cattwg 
Ddoeth, and that the name was Latinized into Carhani 

Llandaf. Llan, church ; daf^Taf, the name of the 
river on which the ancient edifice was built, according to 
the ' Welsh Chronicles,' in 173 by Lleurwg (Lucius). This 
see is reckoned to be the most ancient in Britain. Dyfan 
is said to have been its first bishop, 173-180. 

Llandeilo-Talybont. — ^The church was founded by 
Teilo, Bishop of Llandaff, in the sixth century. Taly- 
bont literally means the end of the bridge. When 
applied to places tal means ' end ' but when applied to per- 
sons it signifies ' front,' Tal-cen, front of the head ; 
Taliesin, radiant front or luminous head. 

Llandochwy. — The church is dedicated to Dochwy, 
an Armorican saint, as some assert, who founded a 
seminary here in the second century. 


Llandyfodwg. — The church was founded by and 
dedicated to Tyfodwg, a saint of the sixth century. 
Several cairns are to be seen on the mountains of this 

Llanddewi. — The Church is dedicated to Dewi, 
David, the patron saint of Wales, who it is said, vi-as the 
rector before he was consecrated a bishop. 

Llanedeyrn. — The church, according to the ' Welsh 
Records ' was founded by Edeyrn ab Gwrtheyrn, 
together with a seminary for 300 saints. 

Llanfabon. — The patron saint is Mabon, Teilo's 
brother, \\-ho is said to have built the church in the sixth 
century. Mabon is derived from mapon, in old Welsh 
map, now viab, a boy, a youth, a son. 

Llanfadog. — The church is dedicated to Madog, 
son of Gildas, y Coed aur, and a saint of Cenydd's College. 

Llanfaes. The original name of the church was 
Lean Ffagan Fach ; for the reason that it was built by 
Ffagan. Llanfaes generally means a church built on a 
spot where a memorable battle was fought. 

Llanfedwy. — In lolo MSS. it is recorded that 
Meudwy, the saint, built Llan Fedwy, which Church was 
burned during lestyn's war, and it was never renovated 

Llanfrynach. — The church, according to Bonedd y 
Saint, vv-as founded by Brynach Wyddel of the city of 
Ffaraon, in the fifth century. 

Llangenydd. — Cenydd founded a seminary here in 
the sixth century, having committed that of Caerphih to 
the custody of his son Ffili. 


Llangiwc. — CiWG ab Arawn ab Cynfarch built the 
first church here m the sixth century. 

Llangyfelach. — The church is supposed to have 
been founded by Cyfelach, Bishop of Llandaff, in the 
sixth century. Cyfelach means one resembling his ances- 

Llaxgynwyd. — The church is dedicated to Cynwyd, 
a saint of the sixth century. His sons were Cynan and 
Cr.drod \vhose names are still preserved in the names of two 
of the largest farms in the neighbourhood, viz., Bryn- 
cynan, and Maescadrod. The parish is affectionately 
called ' yy Hen Blwyf,' ' the old parish.' 

Llanharan. — It is written Llanaron in some ancient 
MSS., from the church being dedicated to Julius and 

Llanharri. Llanarai was the original name, 
bestowed in honour of Garai, the founder of the church. 
He was the son of Cewydd, the son of Caw Cawlwyd. 

Llanilid. — From the • dedication of the church to 
Ilid, who is supposed to have been the first to introduce 
Christianity to the Celts in the first century. 

Llanilltern. — Ellderyn=:^Illtern, the saint who 
founded the church here in the fifth century. Elldeyrn 
means a strange or foreign king. 

Llanilltyd Faerdref. — Illtyd=Iltutus is the 
patron saint of the church. Faerdref =maerdref, demesne 
land, dairy hamlet. The dairy-houses were kept at a little 
distance from the castles and courts of the noblemen. 
Two farm-houses in the neighbourhood still preserve the 
names of Faerdref Fawr and Faerdref Fach. 


Llanilltyd Fawr. — One of the nurseries of early 
Christianity. It was originally called Cor Eugain. 
Cor means a circle, a stall, and sometimes it is rendered 
' college.' The common churches were called corau, and 
the chief or superior churches hangorau. This ancient 
institution is said to have been founded here by Eurgain, 
daughter of Caradog ab Bran, in the first century of the 
Christian era, hence Cor Eurgain . This institution appears 
to have flourished for about fifty years, when it was 
destroyed by Irish pirates, and Patrick, the Head Teacher 
and Superior of the seminary was taken prisoner to Ireland. 

About the year 450 it was re-built by Garmon, who, 
together with Dyfrig, Bishop of Llandaff, dedicated 
Illtyd, Garmon's nephew, to be the head teacher thereof,, 
in consequence of which it was called Cor Illtyd, Bangor 
Illtyd, and Llanilltyd. 

Llanisan. — The church is dedicated to Isan, a 
disciple of Illtyd. 

Llanrhidian. — From Rhidl\n, a student in 
Cenydd's seminary in Gower, and the founder of the 
church. The ruins of Weobly Castle are still overlooking: 
Llanrhidian marsh. 

Llansamlet. — The church, according to Bonedd y 
Saint, was founded by Samled, who flourished in the 
seventh century. 

Llantrisant. — Anciently called Llangawrdaf, in 
honour of Cawr daf, who founded a seminary here, 
which is supposed to have taken fire, and levelled to the 
ground. After the destruction of the seminary, Einion 
ab Collwyn, as some assert, built a church here, which was- 
dedicated to three saints, viz., Illtyd, Tyfodwg, and. 
Gwynno, hence the present name. 


Llantryddyd. — ^The church was originally built by 
Treiddyd, of Illtyd's seminary. 

Llanwyno. — From the dedication of the church to- 
GwYxo, son of Caw, called Euryn y Coed aur, and a saint 
in the colleges of Illtyd and Cattwg. 

Llwydcoed. — Llwyd, grey ; coed, wood. The forest 
of Llwydcoed, in the sixteenth century, was considered 
to be one of the finest in the Principality. 

Llwynbrwydrau. — Llwyn, bush, grove ; hrwydrau, 
battles. The name has reference to some battles fought 
here in olden times. 

Llwynpia. — Llwyn, bush, grove ; pia, magpie. 

Llysfaen. — Llys, court, hall of judicature ; maen, 
stone. It appears there was a large hall built of stone 
in the place, where the law court may have been held 
in time of yore. 

Llysworney. — ^A gross mutilation of Llys-Bro- 
NuDD. — lolo Morganwg tells us that Nudd Hael, son of 
Senyll, a royal saint, of Illtyd's seminary, built the place. 
Bro means a cultivated region, a vale ; and Nudd, the royal 
saint, is supposed to have held a court (llys) here. 

Maerdy. — Maer is synonymous with the English land 
agent, steward, and bailiff. There was an officer called 
Maer in every commot, who regulated the villeins and 
their concerns. He was the king's land agent ; but the 
word eventually came to signify any land steward. 
Maer-dy means a dairy-house. 

Maesteg. — Maes, a field ; teg, fair ; so called after 
a farmstead. 


Manselfield. — So called in honour of the Mansel 
family. \\'illiam Mansel, Esq., Penrice Castle, was the 
owner of the estate in the reign of Henry VI. 

^Iarcross. — Many think the place derives its name 
from a large cross that is supposed to have been raised 
here in memory of St. Mark ; but we rather think the name 
is an Anglicanism of the Welsh Mer-groes, the cross on the 
sea-shore. The place is situate on the Bristol Channel 
coast. A large cromlech, called " vr hen eglwys," the old 
church is still visible, around which the ancient Christians 
are supposed to ha\'e assembled for worship, ere any sacred 
edifice was built here. 

Margam. — Some maintain that the abbey was 
founded by Morgan the Courteous, which was known 
for some centuries by the name of Morgan, and ultimately 
it assumed the name of ]Margam. But there is a pre- 
ponderance of opinion now that this ancient place derives 
its name from Morgan, the son of Caradoc, the son of 
lestyn ab Gwrgant. 

Mawdlaji. — The name is a corruption of M.agdalen. 
In the Charter of Thomas le Despenser, \vhich was granted 
in 1397, mention is made of St. Mary Magdalen's chapel. 

.Melin Crythax. — So called from a mill situated on 
the brook Crythan. Crythan, a little crooth ; or it may 
come from cryddii, to stretch or extend round : crythu 
implies swelling. 

Melin Griffith. — Melin, mill, which was kept by 
a Mr. Griffith to grind corn for the farmers of the district, 
hence the name. 

Merthyr Dyfan. — Merthyr, martyr ; Dyfan, 
Ihe first Bishop of Llandaff, and the son of Alwn Aflerw 


He introduced Christianity to this neighbourhood in the 
second century, and is supposed to have fallen a martyr 
to his faith on the very spot where the church now stands. 

Merthyr Tydfil. — Merthyr, martyr ; Tydfil, 
the name of a daughter of Brychan Brycheiniog, the 
wife of Cyngen ab Cadell, and mother of Brochwel Ysgy- 
throg. In the latter part of Brychan's life it seems that 
he retired with some of his family to this neighbourhood. 
A marauding party of Pagan Saxons and Irish Picts 
attacked the family and murdered Brychan, the father, 
and also Tydfil, the daughter, and her husband. The 
parish church was probably erected on or near the scene 
of murder by St. Tewdrig, son of Teithfallt, and called 
after her Merthyr Tydfil. Her name is also retained in 
Tydfil's well, and her brother Rhun in Pontrhun. 

MiSKiN. — In ancient literature the word is spelt 
Meisgl^x. Meis=maes, field, land ; ciin. leader, chief, 
lord. MiSKiN, near Llantrisant, formed a portion of the 
hereditary estates of lestyn ab Gwrgant, Lord of Gla- 
morgan, hence the name signifies ' the lord's land,' or 
■ the royal land." 

Moxknash. — In 1091 this manor fell into the hands 
of Sir Richard Gren villa, who is supposed to have conferred 
it, with the castle and the lordship of Neath, on the monks 
of Neath Abbey, hence the prefix Monk. Rem_ains of 
monastic establishments are still to be seen here, whose • 
names are still preserved in the parish : ^Monks' Court, 
Monkton Tower, Clawdd y Mynach. The suffix seems 
to be a memento of the piratical incursions of the Vikings 
and Danes. Nash is cognate with ness or naze, and sig- 
nifies a nose or promontory of land. 


MoRRiSTON. — Sir John Morris, Clasmont, built a large 
copper works here in 1876, around which a large \-illage 
grew very rapidly, and took its name from its great bene- 
factor. The English ham and ton, the Norse hy, the 
Danish thorpe, the German dorf, and the Welsh tref, may 
be considered as equivalents. 

MoRGANSTOWN. — The place was sometime called 
Pentrepoeth, the warm village. The present name was 
conferred upon it in honour of Morgan Thomas, Tvnyher- 
llan, on whose land the village is built. 

Mountain Ash. — The ancient name was Aber- 
pennar, from a farm so named, and the new name was 
conferred upon it by John Bruce Pryce, Esq., the then 
owner of the estate. In a very short time after Mr. Pryce 
came to reside here, a man named Dafydd Shon Rhys 
went to him one day and asked if he would lease a certain 
piece of land for building a public house and a private 
house. Having measured the land, Mr. Pryce was asked 
to name the public house. Observing a cerdincn (moun- 
tain ash) close by, he turned to Mrs. Pryce, and said, 
"We shall call this place Mountain Ash." 

Mumbles. — The name was given originally to desig- 
nate the detached rocks at the end of the headland, but in 
course of time it was extended to the old village of Oyster- 
mouth. Col. Francis derives the name from mammals, 
which word gives a very fair description of the two 
rounded breast-like rocks in the place. 

Nantgarw. — Garw, rough, rugged ; nant originally 
signified a ravine, a dingle. 


Nantymoel. — Nant, brook; y, the; moel, bald, a 
conical hill ; the name signifying a brook rushing from 
a high hill. 

Neath. — The Welsh nam.e is Castell Nedd, the 
castle on the Nedd. This is the ancient Nidium of the 
' Itineraries,' and probably it was an important station 
on the great Roman road, called ' Julia Maritima.' Nedd, 
of which Nidium is a Latinised foim_, means turning, whirl- 
ing ; the river was so called, perhaps, from its various 
meanderings. Or it may mean a dingle or glen, implying 
a place of rest, an abode. An-nedd, a dwelling ; nyth, is 
the bird's place of rest. 

Neath Abbey. — Leland called this ' the fairest in all 
Wales.' The lordship of Neath was given by Fitzhamon 
to his younger brother Richard de Grenville. Being of a 
religious disposition, de Grenville went on a pilgrimage 
to the Holy Land in iiii, and brought back with him 
an eminent architect of the name of Lalys, whom he 
engaged to erect an abbey about a mile from the town 
of Neath. It was completed in eighteen years, i.e., in 
1 129, when it was consecrated to the Holy Trinity in the 
presence of de Grenville and Constance his wife. It 
is stated that the first Abbot of Neath was Richard, 
who died in 1145, and the last is said to have been a 
Welshman of the name of John Lleision. Lewis Morganwg, 
chief bard of the Principality, was domestic bard to 
Neath Abbey in 1510. Also in 1520 when Lleision was 
dedicated to his sacred office, a great Eisteddfod was 
held in the Abbey, when Lewis Morganwg took the laurels 
for the best Awdl to the Abbot and the Abbey. In the 
Annates de Mar gam it is stated that Morgan ab Owen 


burnt the Abbey, destroying also 400 sheep, kilhng four 
of the servants and a monk, and severely wounding 
another. At the dissolution the estate was granted to Sir 
Richard Williams, alias Cromwell, by Henry VIII. 

Nelson. — ^This village was once called Ffos y 
Gerdinen, the mountain ash bog, but when the collieries 
of Llancaiach were opened, a number of houses were 
built in the place, among which was a public house named 
' Lord Nelson,' and in course of time the gallant admiral's 
name minus Lord was .conferred upon the village. 

Newton Nottage. — In an old deed it was said that 
William, Earl of Gloucester, gave to Richard de Kardif, 
for his service, the New-town in Margam with all its appur- 

Nottage Court was a grange belonging to Margam 

Nottage is probably a corruption of Nutage. The 
place was once noted for nuts. 

Overton. — Over, when a suffix, means a hill site ; 
when a prefix it indicates the higher of two places. 

OxwiCH. — The prefix seems to be of kindred origin 
and meaning with the Sans, «,r, itks, to water ; Welsh 
wysg, a current. We have Usk, Esk, Exe, Ock, elsewhere ; 
and we find Oxwich in the peninsula of Gower. 

Wich comes from the Norse wic, a bay, a creek. 
The Vikings were attracted to this coast, and indeed they 
derived their very name (Vik-ings) from the wics or 
creeks in which they anchored. 

Oystermouth. — In the Welsh Bruts, the place is 
called Ystumllwynarth. Ystitm, form, shape ; llwyn, 


bush, or brushwood : arth, bear. The name is derived, 
according to one, " from the configuration of tlae site 
of the church, and its resemblance to the animal (bear)." 
We rather think the suffix is garth, which originally meant 
a buttress, an inclosure. Lluarth m.eans an entrench- 
ment on a hill. Ystumllwynarth Castle was built by 
Henry Beaumont, Earl of Warwick, immediately after 
the Norman Conquest, for the defence of the territory 
of Gower. 

The present name Oystermouth has been popularly 
derived from its abundance of oysters. In old docu 
ments the name is written Ostremuere, which is, 
perhaps, a corruption of the original name, omitting 
llwyn. Col. Francis says" The origin of this name has 
generally been connected with the local staple in oysters ; 
but as the word in early deeds is generally written Ostre- 
muere, which is neither Roman nor Saxon, it seems to me 
to lead to the presumption that it will prove to be Danish." 

Pandy. — The name signifies a fulling house. There 
were several grinding mills in the Rhondda Valley called 
Cwmsaerbren Mill, Tyle coch Mill, &c., and Pandy 
was the fulling mill. 

Pantcadifor. — Pant, a low place, a hollow, consider- 
ably less than a combe or valley. Some think Cadifor 
is a corruption of Cawd Ifor, signifying the place where 
Ivor Bach was found dead after a terrible conflict with his 

Pantdu. — From a farmstead so called. The word 
means a black hollow. The place is situate in a dreary 
dingle between Aberavon and Cwmavon. 

Pantscallog. — Pant, a hollow ; scallog — ysgallog,. 
abounding with thistles. 


Pantyrid. — The right wording is Pant-y-rhyd, 
the hollow near the ford. Rhyd originally meant a ford, 
but it is now frequently used to designate a small stream. 

Pantywaun. — Waun, meadow. The place is situated 
in a bowl-shaped hollow on a mountain meadow. 

Panwaunfawr. — Panwaiin, a wet meadow, peat 
moss ; fawr — mawr, great, large. 

Penarth. — Pen in geographical names means the 
highest part or the extreme end, as of a mountain or a 
field. Penrhyn, headland. In the Highlands of Scotland 
we find it in many place-names, as Benmore (Penmawr), 
great mountain, &c. The Gaelic cen or cenn has the 
same signification as pen and hen. In European place- 
names it points out the earlier settlements of the Celtic 
race, as Pennine, Appenines, &c. 

Garth here signifies a promontory or mountain. 
The name means a headland, which is quite descriptive 
of the place. This lofty place was in ancient times 
chosen as vantage-ground for kindling the beacon fire 
to warn the county of invasion. 

Penclawdd. — Pen-cae-clawdd is the right wording, 
a name given to an old camp on the Gaer mountain, near 
an old Roman road. A dyke (clawdd) in olden time was 
considered as a sign of defence and safety. Pen-clawdd 
generally means the head or end of the embankment. 

Pencoed. — Pen, head ; coed, wood ; the name signi- 
fies a place situate at the top of the wood. 

Penderry. — Pen, head or top; derry — deri, oak grove. 

Pendeulwyn. — It means ' the top of two groves.' 
The name was suggested probably by the physical aspect 
of the place, and is now spelt ' Pendoylan.' 


Pengarnddu. — Pen, top, summit ; gam — earn, 
heap of stones ; ddu, black. The village derives its name 
from a black heap of stones that was once in the place. 

Penllin. — Pen-llyn, the head of the lake. 

Penmaen. — The name signifies " the head of the rock 
•or stone,' from the situation of the place at the head of a 
ridge of rocks, commanding magnificent views of the 
•Oxwich Bay. 

Penmarc. — ^The name is supposed to mean ' the head 
-of St. Mark.' ,' O-fr. ^r . 

Pennard. — Some say Pen-garth, the lofty hill ; 
■others give Penhardd, the fine or beautiful head. The 
right wording probably is Penardd, a projection of a hill. 

Penprysg. — Prysg, brushwood, or that which 
-extends. The name signifies a place abounding with 
brushwood. Prysg mountain is hard by. 

Penrhiwceibr. — The right wording is Pen-rhiw- 
■CAE-BYR, signifying the top of the slope of the little field. 

Penrhiwfer. — ^The name signifies the top of the 
short slope. 

Penrice. — A corruption of Pen Rhys, the head of 
Rhys. Rhys, the son of Caradog ab lestyn, was beheaded 
here .by the Normans in 1099. 

Pentre. — Pen-tree, from a farm so called. The 
name was originally applied to a few scattered dwellings, 
forming a town end or otherwise, and finally it was applied 
to a village in contradistinction to a town of the modem 



Pentrebach. — The name signifies a small village. 
It lies about a mile below the town of Merthyr Tydvil, 
and so called in order to distinguish it from the latter which 
was colloquially called by the old inhabitants, y Pentref, 
the village. 

Pextyrch. — The affi.x has been variously derived. 
The traditional origin of the name runs thus : In olden 
times a parish wake was frequently held in the neigh- 
bourhood during which some very questionable pastimes 
were indulged in. Previous to the festival a piece of wood 
was fixed in the ground. Every young woman that 
purposed being present in the wake was expected to make 
a torch (torque or wreath), bearing her nam.e, and the 
colour she intended wearing on that day plaited therein. 
It was a foregone conclusion that one of the young women 
would produce a better torque than all her rivals, round 
which the people gathered and unanimously exclaimed 
' Wei, dyma ben y tyrch,' ' Well, this is the head of the 

The right wording is Pentir-yr-ych, the headland of 
the ox. A combe hard by is called Cwm-y-fuwch, the 
cow's vale, the extreme end of which bears striking resem- 
blance to the form of an ox's head. Some say it is Pen- 
twrch, boar's head, from the resemblance of the brow, 
of the Garth mountain to a boar's head. 

Penydaren. — Daren signifies a rocky hill. The old 
cottage that originally bore the name was situated oa 
a rising eminence. 

Penwaun. — The head or end of the meadow, so called 
from its situation at the extreme end of Gwrgant's meadow. 


Penycae. — The head or end of the field. In the 
year 1818 a Mr. Letsom built a few houses at the east end 
of a field belonging to Cefnydon farm, which from their 
geographical position, were called Penycae. 

Penyfai. — Fai — mat, a plain, a field. The name 
signifies the head or end of the plain. The Welsh for 
Militia is Meiwyr, signifying the men on the plain or open 

Penyrheol. — A \'illage in Loughor district. The 
name signifies the top or end of the road. 

Penyrheolgerig. — Pen, head, top ; yr, the ; heol, 
road ; cerig, stones. The name signifies ' the top of the 
stony road.' 

Pontardawe. — Pont is derived from the Latin -pons, 
pontis, a bridge. The Roman Pontiff derives his name 
from the fact that the first bridge over the Tiber was 
constructed and consecrated by the high priest. This 
place takes its name from a bridge built by William 
Edwards about 1757, which connects the parishes of Llan- 
giwc and Cilybebyll. 

PoNTARDDULAis. — The bridge on the river Dulais or 
Dulas. For Dulais see Dowlais. 

PoNTYCLOWN. — ClowH, the name of the rivulet over 
which the bridge is built. It is probably a contraction of 
dowyn, which implies a white swelUng water. The present 
spelling is Pontyclun. 

PoNTFAEN. — A corrupt form of Pontyfon, Cow- 
bridge. Fon — man, an old Welsh word for a cow. In an 
ancient MS., dated 1645, it is written Pontyfuwch, the 
cow's bridge. It was originally called y dref Mr yn y Waun, 


the long town in the meadow. Its present name was 
derived thus : Some time after the stone bridge was built 
across the river Dawen, a cow ran under it, and the place 
being so narrow her horns stuck in the arch. She could 
neither move onwards or backwards, and ultimately the 
owner had no alternative but to kill her on the spot. The 
town's coat of arms ever since is the figure of a cow stand- 
ing on a bridge, hence Pontyfon, Cowbridge. 

PoNTLOTTYN. — ^The bridge that crosses the Rhymney 
river in the place was named, according to some, in honour 
of a man called Lot, colloquially Lottyn. Others think the 
right wording is Pontyplottyn, which means a bridge 
erected on a dry spot between two streams of the river. 
It is spelt ' Pont Lydan,' on an old map, which means a 
wide bridge. Some say that in olden times the bridge 
was claimed by the inhabitants of Gwent and Morganwg, 
as one end stood in each county, and here they met to play 
games of chance-lotteries. In these games an umpire 
was chosen, who was called ' Lottyn.' He stood on 
the bridge to give his decision, hence Pontlottyn, the 
umpire's bridge. 

We think the name is a corruption of Pantyplot- 
TYN, which was the name of a farm in that place long 
before any bridge was built there. Pant, hollow ; y, the ; 
■plottyn, from the Anglo-Saxon plot, a spot of ground 

PoNTLLiw. — LLiw, the name of the river that runs 
under the bridge. Some think the root is Hi, a flux, a 
stream ; but we rather think it is derived from lug, which 
is a Romanised form of Uwch, a lake or hollow. Llwchwr 
is close by. 

PoNTRHYDYCYFF. — Pont, bridge ; rhyd, ford ; y, 
the ; cyff, a stump, a trunk. 


PONTRHYDYFEN. — Rhydyfen has given rise to 
many conjectures. Some say it is Rhydywaun, the 
meadow ford ; others call it Rhyd Efan, Evan's ford ; 
others think it is Rhydyfon, the cow's ford. We rather 
think the name is a corrupt form of Pont-ar-rhyd-afan, 
the bridge on the ford of Afan ; and is derived from the 
small bridge that was built to cross the ford near Rhyslyn. 
Or jen may be the Welsh men, a cart or wagon, and the 
name would mean the bridge of the wagon ford. 

PoNTYCYMMER. — Pont, bridge ; y, the ; cymmer, 
the junction of two rivers or brooks bearing the same name. 

PoNTYGWAiTH. — Gwaith, work or works. It is gener- 
ally believed that an ironworks stood here at some remote 
period. A smelting furnace was standing here as late as 
1850, but who built it is a matter of conjecture. 

Pontypridd. — In the reign of Henry VIII. Leland 
refers to this locality as Pont Rhehesk, which is a corrup- 
tion of Pont-yr-hesg, the bridge of the rushes. Craig-yr- 
HESG, the rock of the rashes, is about half a mile to the 
north-east of the town. When Leland passed through 
the place, the only bridge crossing the Taff river in the 
locahty was a footbridge over the rocks of the Taff 
waterfall, hence the name Pont-yr-hesg. The place 
afterwards took its name from Pont-yr-hen-dy-pridd, 
the bridge near the old earthen house, which was erected 
by William Edwards in 1755. 

Port Talbot. — In an Act of Parhament which 
received Royal assent July 4th, 1836, it was enacted 
" that from and immediately after the passing of this 
Act the said harbour shall cease to be called the " Aber- 
avon Harbour,' but shall be called, known, and distin- 
guished by the name of ' Port Talbot." ' The founda- 


tion stone of the harbour was laid by one of the Talbot 
family, Margam Park, September, 1837. The name is 
extended now to the whole district. 

PoRTEYXON. — The name is derived from Einion, a 
descendant of Howel Dda. The wonderful cave called 
Twll yr afr, goat's hole, is in this parish. In 1822-23 
remains of elephants and mam_moths were discovered here. 

PoRTKERRY. — The name is derived from. Ceri ab 
Caid, king of Essyllvrfr. Ancient history tells us that he 
was a remarkably wise m_an, and a ship-builder, and that 
he took up his abode here. Font-de-Gery, Ceri's well, 
is not far distant. Here the Normans landed when they 
came to Glamorgan at the request of Einion ab CoUwyn. 
(lolo MSS., p. 345). 

Port Tennant. — So called in honour of H. T. 
Tennant, Esq., Cadoxton Lodge, who built it at his 
own expense in 1826. 

Porthcawl. — One writer thinks the right wording is 
PoRTHCAWELL ; forth, port ; cawell, a weii, so named from 
two fishing weirs formerly placed here, ^^'e rather think 
that cawl is a corrupt form of Gaul. It is supposed that 
the Gauls or Gaels left their mem.orials here as well as in 
Galloway, Gcf/way, Donegal, Portugal. 

PwLLCWM. — Pwll, a pit, a small pool ; cunn, a valley ; 
so called from an old coal pit that was opened in the 

Pyle. — From pil, which means a creek, a small inlet 
of the sea filled by the tide. It is supposed that the place 
was sometimes inundated by the sea, hence the name. 

Quakers Yard. — The place derives its name from the 
following incident ; Lydia Fell, who lived in Cefn Forest — 


a farmhouse in the parish of Merthyr Tydfil — was a 
wealthy member of the Quaker fraternity. In course 
of time a burial-place for the Quakers became a desider- 
atum. She owned considerable land in the northern 
part of Llanfabon parish, and v/as charitable enough to 
give a portion of it to be made a suitable repository 
for the dead about the year 1670 or 1680. A wall was 
built around it, six feet high, which is still standing. 
Lydia Fell was buried here. 

Radir. — Some think the name is a contraction of yr dr 
dir, the arable land. lago Emlyn thinks the oiiginal form 
was rhaiadr, cataract or waterfall. We are inclined 
to think the name is an abbreviated form of Rhad-dir, 
cheap or free land, belonging to the diocese of Llandaff. 
Morgan Mwynfawr held his court here in preference to 

Raven Hill. — A farm in the place is called Penlle'r 
Brain, which signifies the chief rendezvous of the raven 
tribe in the district, and the present name may be a trans- 
lation of the sam.e. If we could satisfy ourselves that the 
Danes visited the place, we would be inclined to identify 
the place-name with pvaefn, a raven, the Danish standard. 
There are several Danish names in Gower and along its 

Resolven. — The name, according to some, is a com- 
pound of rhiw, slope ; and Solven, the name of the m.oun- 
tain at the base of which the village is situated. Sol — siol, 
head ; and pen — maen, stone. Others think it is a 
contraction of Bryn Soflen, the hill of stubble. After 
the Norman Conquest the lands of Solven Were allotted 
to Rhys ab lestyn, and called, according to some, after 
his name, ' Rees-Solven.' Solven is doubtless a changed 


fonn of Sylfan, a place to gaze, which fully corresponds- 
with the physical aspect of the place, the Solven mountain 
commanding an extensive view of the Vale of Neath. 

Reynoldston. — So called in honour of Reginald de 
Breos, who was sometime lord of the manor, and is sup- 
posed to have been the founder of the church. 

Rhigos. — In ancient MSS., it is spelt Rhygoes, 
Rhegoes, and y Rygoes. Some think it is a corruption 
of Rhydgroes, the ford of the cross. Grug-rhos, the 
meadow heath has been suggested. The physical aspect 
of the place suggests another derivation : rhug, what has 
breaks or points ; rhos, meadow. The right wording,, 
others think, is Grugos, heath, heather ; signifying a 
heathy place — a true description of this romantic spot, 
which is noted for its small batches of heath. Thomas 
Llewelyn, Rhigos, is a name that has not had the place 
it deserves in Welsh history. It is supposed that he 
was born in a farmhouse called Clyn-Eithinog, Eithen- 
— a furse brake, in the earlier part of the sixteenth century. 

Rhondda. — In ancient documents it is spelt 
Glyn Rothere, Glyn Rodneu, Glyn Rotheney, 
and Glyn Rhondda. Some have derived the name from 
the Latin unda. We rather think the name is a 
contracted form of Yr Honddu ; yr, the ; hoen, 
complexion, hue ; ddu, black. Many Welsh rivers 
received their names from the peculiar hue of their 
respective waters. 

Rhossili. — The word means a moorland near the sea. 
Rhos, moor ; heli, brine. Reginald de Sully had nothings 
to do with this place. 

Worm's Head is in this parish, which is evidently 


another memorial of the Vikings. Worm is a Saxon- 
ized form of the Norse ormr, a serpent. This promontory 
has been compared to a huge sea serpent raising its 
head and half of its length above the waves. 

Rhws. — The name signifies a cultivated region. 

Rhydri. — A contraction, say some, of Yr-yw-dre, 
the home of yew trees, from the abundance of yew trees 
in the neighbourhood. It may be a corruption of Rhiw- 
Y-DERi, literally, the slope of the oaks, or it may be an 
Anglicised form of Rhudd-dre, the hamlet of the red 

Rhydyboithan. — Rhyd, a ford ; y, the. Boithan 
may be a corruption of bwthyn, hut or cot. 

Rhydyfelen. — The true etymology is Rhyd-y-felin 
the ford or stream of the mill. The word signifies a stream 
of water that turns a mill. 

Rhydyfro. — ^The name signifies ' the stream of the 

Senghenydd. — {See Caerphili). 

SiGGiNGTON. — ^This place lies near Cowbridge, and 
seems to have belonged to a fam.ily named Syggin or 
Siggin, who, however, left no other record. 

Skerry. — From the Norse scar, a face of rock or cliff. 
Skeara, to shear, or cut asunder. The rocks of Sker Point 
run sheer down into the sea. It is cognate with the 
Gaehc and Erse sgeir, a cliff ; the Welsh esgair, a shank, 
a long ridge ; and the Anglo-Saxon sciran, to divide. A 
scar is the mark where the flesh has been divided ; a 
share is a divided part and shire is a division of land. 


Sketty. — The name is probably an abbreviated form 
of Is Ketti. The village lies at the base of the hill where 
Maen Ketti stands, hence the name is Ketti, which signi- 
fies a place below the stone of the Arkite power. 

Skewen. — The right wording, say some, is Is-cae- 
YWEN, a place below the field of the yew-tree, but we rather 
think it is a corruption of Ysgawen, the Welsh for elder- 
wood, so called from the abundance of that wood in the 

St. Athan. — According to the Welsh Chronicles the 
church was bdilt by St. Tathan, son of Annwn Ddu, and 
Anna, the daughter of i\Ieurig ab Tewdrig, King of 
Essyllwg, in the sixth century. It is said that Tathan 
founded a monastic establishment here for 500 saints, 
and that his mortal remains were interred here. 

St. Bride. — The church was dedicated to St. Ffraid, 
according to some ; but lolo Morganwg thinks it was dedi- 
cated to St. Bride, the daughter of Dwpdagws, an Irish 

St. Donnatt's. Donnatt is an Anghcanism of the 
Welsh Dunawd, the name of the saint to whom the 
■church was dedicated. Another ^'illage, Welsh St. 
Donnatt's, was so called for the purpose of distinguishing 
it from St. Donnatt's proper, which was occupied by a 
portion of the Flemish colony. 

St Ffagan — The parish church is dedicated to St. 
Ffagan, who is said to have come to Britain with 
Dyfan and Medwy and Elfan in the year 180, at the 
■solicitations of Lleurwg, to preach the Gospel to the 


St. Hilary. — ^The church is dedicated to St. Elari. 
The remains of Beaupre Castle are in this parish. 

St. Nicholas. — ^The Welsh name is Llan-einydd, 
from the church being built by Einydd, King of Morganwg, 
and grandson of Morgan Mwynfavvr. The new name was 
probably conferred by the Normans. 

St. Lythan. — Lythan is probably a corruption of 
Bleddian. The Welsh name is Llanfleiddian Fach, 
so called in honour of Bleiddian, a contemporary of Gar- 
mon, the adjective bach, little, being added in order to 
distinguish it from Llanbleiddian Fawr. 

Sully. — ^The Welsh name is Abersili, from, its situa- 
tion at the mouth of the rivulet Sili. Sully is perhaps a 
corruption of Sili, hissing water ; or of Sylwy : syl — 
sylhi, to gaze ; and wy, water. Som.e think the word is 
the Norse for ' ploughed island,' and others think it is a 
modified form of Sulwy or Sule, a woman's name. 

Swansea. — The original name of the town was Caer 
Wyr, the fortress of Gower. It is called Abertawy, 
from its situation at the estuary of the river Tawy. 
The roots are taw, silent ; and wy — gwy, water ; signifying 
the silent river. Some think the root is ta or tam, which 
m.eans what spreads or expands, and that it is found in 
the river-nam-es Tay in Perth ; Tan in Devon ; Tame, 
Thames, Taf, Teifi, Tawy. 

There are different views respecting the origin of 
Swansea. Col. Francis traces the name in Common 
Hall Books, Charters, and Chronicles, to the reign of 
Henry II (1188), and finds that it always points to the 
place which bears the nam.e of Sweyn, the Danish hero. 
Hearne, in 1722, records : " King Swanus, his fleet,. 


drowned at Swanawick, . alias Swanasey, [i.e., Swanus- 
sea). Swanus' fleet was destroyed in the Swansea Bay 
by a storm in 877. It is said that 120 ships were lost 
at the time, and that he himself perished. 

Taibach. — The name signifies ' small houses,' so called 
from the four small thatched houses that once stood at the 
bottom of the road, which was afterwards called ' Water 

Talygarn. — Tal, front, end ; y, the ; gam — cam, 
a heap, a cairn. 

Three Crosses. — So called from the junction of the 
three roads in the hamlet. 

TiRPHiL. — Tir, land ; phil, a clipped form of Philip, 
the name of the then owner of the land on which the 
"village was built. 

Ton. The name signifies unploughed land, a grassy 
plot of ground. The village derives its name from a 
farmstead so called. 

Tonna. — Plural of ton. {See Ton). 

ToNDU. — Ton, a grassy plot of ground, a green 
sward. Ithel Ddu, grandson of Morgan Hen, kept a sum- 
mer-house here, called Ton Ithel Ddu. He was called 
Ithel Ddu from his very black hair and beard. In course 
■of time the appellation Ithel was omitted, and the name 
contracted to Tonddu and Tondu. Ithel is written in 
old Welsh Judhael, and on one of the Llantwit stones it 
it spelt Juthahelo. Professor Rhys thinks it is composed 
of jud, fight ; and had, generous, a generous man. 

Tongwynlais. — Ton, green sward ; gwyn-las, white 
and green. Some call it Ton-gwyrdd-las, a green, grassy 


plot of ground. A mansion near the village is called 
' Green Meadow,' which is an approximate equivalent to 
the village name. 

ToNYREFAiL. — Yr-efail, the smithy. The name in 
full means a smithy built upon or near a green sward. A 
very old smithy is in the place. 

Trealaw. — Tref, the primitive Welsh for homestead, 
a dwelling house. Having built a house for himself the 
lord of the manor would proceed to erect dwellings for his 
people and his cattle, and then formed what was called 
tref. The word, in course of time, became to be applied 
to an aggregate of houses. The Norse hy, the Danish 
thorpe, the German dorf, and the English ham and ton 
may be considered as its equivalents. This place was 
called Trealaw in honour of D. Williams, Esq., father 
of Judge Williams, Miskin, whose nom-de-plume was 
Alaw Goch, and on whose land the village was built. 

Trebanog. — Tref, homestead, dweUing place ; hanog, 
prominent, high, conspicuous, lofty. Banau, beacons. 

Treboeth. — The name signifies the dry parched 

Trebanos. — Banos ; ban, a general term for high 
places or mountains ; os, a plural diminutive, as in plantos, 

Treforgan. — A small village near Crynant, so called 
after John Morgan, who built the first two houses in the 
place in 1874. 

Treforest.— So called from Craig-y-Fforest, the 
rock of the forest, near which the village is situate 


Treharris. — So named in honour of Mr. Harris, 
who opened a \'ery large coUiery here in 1873, and called 
it Harris' Navigation Colliery. 

Treherbert. — The name was conferred on the place 
in 1851 by the Marquis of Bute, in honour of Herbert, a 
favourite name in the Bute family. 

Treorky. — The right wording, perhaps, is Tre- 
GoRCHWY. — Gorchwy, river name, signifies encom.passing 
or overflowing water. The root may be orch, a limit, a 

Troedyrhiwfuwch. — It is vulgarly spelt by some 
Troed-rhyw-fuwch, the foot of som.e cow, in allusion to 
a local tradition about a cow that had gone astray. Some 
think it is a corruption of Troedrhiw-uchaf, a farm so 
named, in order to distinguish it from Troedrhiw-isaf. 
We take it to mean a place situate at the bottom of the 
cow's slope. 

Troedyrhiw. — From a farmstead so cnlled. Troed 
is the Welsh for loot, base. The Irish traig signifies the 
same both of which, according to some, are of the same 
origin as the Greek trecho, ' Iran.' The English tread 
m.eans to set the foot. Rhiw is the Welsh for ascent, 
acchvity, slope. The Welsh Troedyrhiw and the 
Italian pie di monte are almost synonymous. 

Tylorstown. — The village derives its nam.e from Mr. 
Alfred Tylor, who opened the first colliery here about 

Tythegston. — Llandudwg is the Welsh nam.e. 
The church is dedicated to Tudwg, a saint of the sixth 


century. Tytheg is a modification of Tudwg, pro- 
bably a personal name. 

TwYNRODYN. — Twyn is a smaller and flatter rising 
of the ground than hryn. and forms no part of a range. 
It would 'oe equivalent to ' knoll or hillock ; ' yr, the ; 
odyn, lime-kiln. 

Tylegwyn. — Tyle originally meant a place where a 
house had been, but now it signifies a steep ascent, or 
rising of a hill. Tyle Iscoed is an old appellation for Ire- 
land. Gwyn, white. 

Walnut Tree Bridge. — Three walnut trees had 
grown near each other on a well-known plot of ground 
in the place, and in order to proceed with the construc- 
tion of the Taff Vale Railway in the place, it was necessary 
to uproot these trees and build a bridge on the spot, hence 
the name. The place is popularly called Taff's Well, from 
the celebrated well that springs from the bed of the river 
Taff. It is 4 feet deep, and its waters aie famous for 
cuiing rheumatism. 

Walterston. — The village bears the name of 
Walter or Gualtier de Mapes, Fitzhamon's chaplain. 
His father came into this country with Fitzhamon, and 
received as his share of the plunder the estates of Gwenydd 
ab Seisyllt, lord of Llancarvan. 

Watford. — In old records it is written as y Fot 
FFORDD, which is probably a corrupt form of Bodffordd, 
a roadside residence. A very historic place in connec- 
tion with Nonconformity. 

Waunarlwydd. — Waun, meadow ; arlwydd, modern 
Welsh ; arglwydd, a superior, a lord, a proprietor. Mr. 


Griffiths, Bryn Dafydd, purchased a piece of land which 
belonged to the lord of the manor, from which circumstance 
the place was called Waunarlwydd, the lord's manor. 

Wauntrodau. — Waun, meadow ; trodau is variously 
derived. Some derive it from trotian, to trot, to go on trot; 
trodi, to journey ; from the supposition that the place 
was sometime noted for horse-racing. Others think the 
right worcling is Troed-y-da, signifying the meadow 
where traces of cows' feet were visible. An old house, 
called Castell Rhoda, Rhode's castle, once stood in the 
place. This may be the ancient Treoda, which was burnt 
by the Saxons in 831, and the waun, meadow, probably 
belonged to the same mansion. 

Wenvoe. — ^The roots are gwyn, white blessed ; and 
fa — man, place. The name is a Norman transmutation 
of the original Gwynfa. Gwyn was a sacred appellation 
among the Celtic race. Cylch y Gwynfyd was the 
Druidical Elysium. Gwynfa is the popular Welsh for 

Wick. — Some think the name is indirectly derived 
from the Norse wic, a bay ; but wic had a second- 
ary meaning of hamlet, village. It was anciently 
called Y Wig Fawr, the great wood, suggesting 
that the locality was sometime thickly wooded, and the 
present name is an Anglicized form of the Welsh minus 
jawr, great, large. 

Ynysboeth. — A village near Penrhiwceibr. ynys, 
a quasi-island ; poeth, scorching, sun-parched. 

Ynysawdre. — Ynys, island (?) ; nawdd, refuge ; and 
ire, homestead. 


Ynyshir. — Ynys originally signified a quasi-island 
in the marshes. It is equivalent to inch in Scotland, 
Inch Keith ; and inis or ennis in Ireland, Ennis Killen, 
Inniskia, &c. Ynys-hir- literally means long island, so 
named after a farmstead in the place. It is noteworthy 
that a very large number of villages in the mining dis- 
tricts take their names from farm-houses. 

Ynyslwyd. — From an old cottage so called, on the 
river Cynon. Some say it is Ynys y tywod llwyd, a 
•quasi-island of grey sands. 

Ynyspenllwch. — Ynys, island ; -pen, head, end ; 
llwch, lake, an inlet of water. The postfix corresponds 
■with the Scotch loch, the Irish lough, and the English 
-lake. Tradition has it that the vale of Tawy was once 
■studded with many lakes or sheet of waters. Yslwch 
means a gutter, and slough is a mire. 

Ynystawe. — Ynys, island ; Tawe, the name of the 
river. The ancient farmstead, which gave the name 
to the place, was the residence of the celebrated bard, 
Hopkin ap Thomas ap Einion in 1380. He served as a 
mihtary officer in the reigns of Edward III. and Richard 

Ynysybwl. — Some think the affix is pwll, pit, hollow ; 
the name, therefore, signifying the island in the hollow. 
The true rendering, probably, is Ynys-y-bel, which is 
by free interpretation, the ball-meadow. The place in 
olden times was a noted rendezvous for ball-players. 

Ystalyfera. — In some old documents the name is 
spelt ynys-tal-fera. In the adjoining places we find 
ynysmeudwy and ynyspenllwch. Some think the right 
wording is Ynys-tal-furiau, the meadow at the foot of the 


high wahs (of Ahtgrug and Tarren Gwyddon). Ystal, a 
stock or produce, a stall ; y, the ; fera:=hera, a stack of 
corn or hay ; the name colloquially meaning ' the hay- 
stall.' The place is also called y Cyfin, which is a clipped 
form of Cyfyng, implying a narrow, deep gorge, in which 
anyone on \-iewing the mountains on either side might be 
inclined to exclaim like the apostle of old, " I am in a strait 
betwixt two." 

YsTRAD Dyfodwg. — Ystrad is a general term for a 
low or fiat valley through which a river flows. It is derived 
from the Latin strata, a paved way, from sterno, stratum, 
to spread out, to strew ; and considered to be one of the 
words recognised as inherited directly from the Roman 
invaders. Compare the Scotch strath, and the English 
street. The parish church was dedicated to Tyfodwg. 
ab Gwilfyw, a saint of the sixth century. 

Ystrad Mynach. — Mynach is the Welsh for monk. 
Some have been led by the name to think that some 
unknown monk must have lived here in time of yore. 
The right wording is Maenarch. In the lolo MSS. we are 
told that Maenarch, Earl of Hereford, built the parish 
church of Llanfabon. 

Ystrad Owen. — The parish derives its name from 
Prince Owen, the son of Morgan Hen, King of Morgannwg, 
who took up his abode here. In a field adjoining the 
churchyard is a large tumulus supposed to indicate the site 
of his house, or as some say, the grave of Ovi-en and his 
wife. Owen's remains were buried here in 987. 


The county takes its name from the old cantrev of 
Meirion, so called in honour of Meirion, grandson of 
Cunedda Wledig. The affix eth is a modification of the 
Welsh ydd, a particle denoting agency or personality. It 
is the only northern county that has kept its original name. 

Aberdyfi. — So called from its situation at the mouth 
of the river Dyfi. Some think Dyfi means smooth water, 
and that the right wording is Dof-wy, the tame or smooth 
water. Others think it is Dyfn-wy, the deep water. Some 
are of opinion that it is a corrupt form of Deifr-dyfroedd, 
waters. But the most popular derivation is Dwyf-wy, 
the sacred water. 

Abeedysyni. — Some think that Dysyni, the name of 
the rivulet, is a corruption of di-swn-wy , the noiseless 
water, which is a true description of this lethargic stream. 

Abercywarch. — ^The place is situated at the mouth 
of the river Cywarch. Perhaps cywarch is a mutation of 
cawerch ; caw, moveable , swift, and erch, terrible, rushing ; 
signifying a swift and terrible water. 

Abergwynolwyn. — Various forms are given of this 
name, as Abergynolgwyn, Abergwernolwyn, Abergwer- 
nolwy, Aber Cantolwyn, &c. Some think the place derives 
its name from Cynolwyn, an unknown personage referred 
to in the Black Book of Carmarthen. We find Cae 
Cynolwyn in the district of Aberdyfi. Others think the 
right wording is Abergwernol wy. The river is called, 
Gwernol, and has its source in Gwernol's Well. Gwernol, 
swampy, boggy, and wy, water. 


Aberllefeni. — Some think the name is a clipped 
fonn of Aber-Uech-feini, signifying a river making its way 
through and over slate-stones. Others think that 
Llefeni is a mutation of Llyfnwy, the smooth water. We 
have many rivers bearing the name Llyfnwy. We are 
inclined to think the correct wording is Aher-llwyfeni- 
In the works of Ifan Tew in the Library of the British 
Museum the name is given as Aber-llwyfeni. Llwyfeni 
means ehn-trees, which adorn the banks of the river. 

Abertrinant. — Nant primarily signified a ravine, 
a dingle, a commot. 

Ardudwy. — Ar, a height ; dud-tud, a region, a dis- 
trict ; wy-gwy, water ; the name signifying a watery dis- 
trict. Some derive the name from ar, above ; du, black ; 
and dwy, or gwy, water ; hence a place above the black 

Argoed. — A contraction of ar-y-coed, a place situated 
on or above a wood. Camps in time of yore were forti- 
fied on emergencies, by felling trees to surround them,, 
and one so constructed was called Argoed. 

Arthog.— The older inhabitants call it Arthogof ; 
Arth,h&a.r; ogo/, cave or lair. Tradition has it that bears 
sometime found a resting-place here. Some think it is a 
personal name. We find the forms Arthawc and Arthawg 
in Bonedd y Saint. We rather think the right word is 
Garthog, mountainous, hilly. Garth, a projecting ridge. 

Bala.— Some think the word is Celtic, signifying a 
village. Others derive it from halu, to shoot, or issue forth. 
Bala coed, the budding or blossom of trees. Bala llyn, the 
outlet or efflux of a lake. It is cognate with Balloch in. 


Scotland. The town is situate at the effluence of Llyn 
Tegid, the lake of Tegid. The lake was so called from the 
following circumstances. 

" Tegid, the son of Baran, was a wise king, and a good 
bard. He enacted excellent regulations for literature ; 
restored ancient learning, which had nearly become 
lost ; and instituted a council of bards and Druids, as of 
old. He continued at war with his enemies, but they 
took him at last, through treachery, and drowned him in 
the great lake, called from that circumstance, Llyn Tegid 
(Tegid's Lake) in Gwynedd. (" lolo MSS. p. 346). 

CoRRis. — We find the forms Corys and Corus in the 
Cambrian Register for 1795. Some think the place takes 
its name from a saint called Corus. It is also said that 
Cunedda Wedig had a son called Coras. Others think 
that the river which gives the place its name, was called 
Corus from its making round excavations in the angles 
of its banks. 

Barmouth. — An Anghcized form of the Welsh 
name, Ahermaw, which signifies a place situated at the 
mouth of the river Maw. Bar is a modification of Aher. 
and mouth of Maw, or Mawddwy. Maw means broad, 
expanding. Mawddach, according to Dr. Owen Pughe, 
means overflowing water. " Oedd maw ei rhydau," broad 
were its fords. The Anglicized name was adopted in 
1768 by the seafaring fraternity in order to have an 
English name inscribed upon the vessels. 

Bryn y Crug. — Bryn, a hill ; y, the ; crug, a heap ; 
signifying a heap on a hill. 

Carrog. — From carog, which signifies a torrent or 


CwM Prysor. — Cwm, valley ; Prysor seems to be 
derived from prysu, to form a resort or covert. The 
name is quite descriptive of this deep and solitary vale, 
in which the rains of Castle Prysor are still visible. 

Ceinog. — The root is cain, clear, bright, fair. The 
name was given to the place, probably, on account of 
the beautiful views it commands. 

CoRWEN. — Some derive the name from Corwena, 
the name of the mother of Bran and Beli, twin brothers. 
Others derive it from Corvaen, which implies a stone 
in a circle. Others think it is a mutation of Caer Owain. 
History tells us that the place is famous for being the 
rendezvous where the Welsh assembled about the year 
1163, under their valiant leader, Owen Gwynedd, against 
Henry II., and also for being the place of encampment of 
Owain Glyndwr when he defended his country against 
Henry IV. We incline to think the name retains its pri- 
mitive form ; hence it means the white choir or church. 

CwMORTHiN. — A corruption probably of Cwm-certh- 
hin. Cwm, valley ; certh, awful, dangerous ; hin, the 
weather. The name is quite descriptive of the physical 
aspect of this deep valley. 

Cymerau. — The root is cymer, the juncture or union of 
two streams. The place is situated near the confluence of 
the rivers Erch and Heli. 

Cynwyd. — ^The name, which signifies primary evil, 
or mischief, was probably derived from Cynwyd ah 
Cynwydion, once a very powerful prince in Edeyrnion, 
but who spent the latter end of his life in hermitage. 

Doldrewin. — Some are of opinion that the name 
refers to the druidical circles, remains of which are 


now seen in the village. Dol, a meadow,; drewin, a 
corruption of derwydd, a druid. 

Derwen Las. — Derwen, an oak ; las-glas, green. 

DoLGELLEY. — Dol, a meadow, a plain, dale ; gelley 
is derived by some from celli, a grove. The name is 
quite in correspondence with the physical aspect of the 
town, which is situate in a fertile vale between the rivers 
Aran and Wnion, and surrounded on all sides by lofty 
and thickly-wooded mountains. We rather think that 
gelley is a corruption of collen, hazel-tree, from the abun- 
■dance of hazel-wood in the district. 

DiNAS Mawddwy. — Dinas, a hill fort. In olden 
times it was the capital of an extensive lordship, pre- 
serving the insignia of power, the stocks and whipping- 
post, the feg fawr, or great fetter, the mace, and 
standard measure. Mawddwy, broad water. 

DuGOED. — Du, black ; goed — coed, wood. 

Ffestiniog. — Edmunds derives the name from 
■mesen, an acorn, and wg, a district. Others derive it 
from the Latin Festino, which, it is supposed, was bestowed 
upon it by the Romans when they took up their abode 
here. Dr. O. Pughe traces it to the Welsh ffestinio, to 
hasten. The pedestrian was obliged to hasten through 
the place if he destined to cross the mountains and reach 
Bala or Ysbytty ere being enveloped in darkness. We 
rather think the name is alhed with penffestin, a helmet. 
Penffesiiniog, wearing a helmet. The name, therefore, 
implies a district possessing fortified places. 

Glyndyfrdwy. — Glyn, glen ; dyfrdwy, the name of 
the river that flows through it. Various explanations 


have been given of Dyfrdwy. Some derive it from 
dwfr-dwy-afon, the water of two rivers ; others maintain 
it is a mutation of dwjr-du, black watei ; according to 
others it is a corruption of Dwrdd-gwy, the roaring water. 
The most popular derivation is dyfr-dwy (/), the 
goddess' water, or the water of the divinity, from the 
supposition that its waters were held in superstitious 
veneration by the Kjmiry. 

GwYDDELWERN. — Gwyddd, a man of the woods ; 
gwerii, alder trees. Alder wood, perchrnce, abounded, 
in the district, and the early inhabitants probably were 
obliged to build their hut-homes in the woods. Or 
perhaps, it means the alders of the Irish, indicating the 
place where a band of Irishmen were defeated. Dr. 0. 
Pughe translates the word thus : "A moor or meadow 
overgrown with bushes," which signification tallies- 
weU with the bushy aspect of the place. We also find 
Y Wern Ddti, black moor, and Ty'nywern, the house on. 
the moor, in the district. The term gwyddel originally 
meant a brake, a bush, and the name probably means a 
meadow full of brambles. 

Harlech. — In ancient times the castle was known 
by the names o^ Twr Bronwen, Bronwen's Tower, from 
Bronwen, the White-necked, or rather Branwen lit, the 
blessed crow, sistei to Bran ap Llyr, king of Britain ; 
and Caer Collwyn, from CoUwyn ap Tango, head of one of 
the fifteen tribes of North Wales, and lord of Eifionydd, 
Ardudwy, and part of Lleyn. 

When Edward I. built the present castle it was 
denominated, according to some, Harddlech, the fair or 


fine rock or stone. The county is exceedingly ricli in 
cromlechs and tine stone monuments. A traveller, in 
climbing an adjacent hill, may observe several meini 
hirion, and circles formed of large common pebble-stones.. 

Llandanwg. — From Tanwg, son of Ithel Hael, and 
a saint of the sixth century. Tanwg means lowland. 

Llandecwyn. — From Tecwyn, son of Ithel Hael,. 
and a saint of the sixth century. Two lakes in the- 
parish, Tecwyn Ucha and Tecwyn Isa, bear his name. 
Some derive tecwyn thus — teg, far ; gwyn, white, lovely. 
Llyn Tecwyn is near the village, whose waters are of 
crystalline clearness. 

Llandrinio. — Trinio, a descendant of Emyr Llydaw,. 
is supposed to have been the founder of the church. 
Trinio probably comes from trin, which means a battle or 
combat ; trinio, to meddle, to manage. 

Llanddwywe. — ^From Dwywau, a descendant of 
Emyr Llydaw, and a saint of the sixth century. 

Llanfihangel-y-Traethau. — The Parish Church 
is dedicated to St. Michael, and is situated near the 
two beaches, called Y Traeth Bach and Traeth Mawr. 

Llanfihangel y Pennant. — The church is dedicated 
to St. Michael, hence Llanfihangel. Pennant, the extreme 
end of the dingle. 

Llwyngwril. — Llwyn, bush ; gwril, the name of the 
river that runs through the place. Some think the right 
wording is Llwyn Cyril, from a tradition that a saint called 
Cyril walked over the sea from Bardsey Island to this. 


place, where he took up his residence. Probably the 
place takes its name from an unknown person called 
Gwril or Gwryl. 

Llanfor. — Some think the church is dedicated to 
Mor Meirion. The right wording, perhaps, is Llanfawr, 
ihe great church. 

Llangar. — The right word probably is Llangaer, 
which means the fortress church. The church is built 
near an ancient fortress called Caerwem ; hence the 

Llangower. — Gower is a corruption of Gwawr, the 
mother of Llywarch Hen, and a saint, to whom the 
-church is dedicated. 

Llanuwchllyn. — The name indicates a church 
above the lake. The village is situated on the Dee a 
short distance above Tegid lake. 

Llandderfel. — From Derfel Gadarn, a celebrated 
warrior in the sixth century. The church was remark- 
able for a vast wooden image of Derfel, which was the 
subject of much superstition in olden times. 

Llandrillo. — From Trillo, son of Ithel Hael. 
Trilo's well is near the village. 

Llanfrothen. — From Brothen, son of Helig ab 
■Glanawg, and a popular saint of the sixth century. 

Llangelynin. — From Celynin, son of Helig ab 

Llanegryn. — Egyyn, a saint of the seventh century, 
is supposed to have founded the church. 

Llanwrin. — From Gwrhin, son of Cynddilig, a 
supposed saint of the sixth century. 


Llanelltyd. — From Illtyd, one of the most cele- 
brated of the Welsh saints. 

Llanferin. — Merin, a descendant of Seithenyn, is- 
recorded to have been the founder of the church. 

Llanbedr. — The church is dedicated to St. Peter. 
This neighbourhood, according to some historians, 
forms a part of Cantref y Gwaelod, the lowland hundred. 

Llanaber. — The church stands on the south extre- 
mity of the plain of Ardudwy, within about a furlong 
from the sea. 

Llanymawddwy. — The church and village are 
situated at the base of Aran Fawddwy. 

Llanycil. — The name indicates a church built in 
a sequestered place. 

Llanerchfydda. — Fydda is probably a corruption 
of byda, a beehive. The name indicates a noted place 
for bees. 

Llwyn. — A village in the parish of Llanegryn. 
The name m.eans a bush. 

Maextwrog. — So called from the memorial stone- 
of Twrog, a celebrated British saint of the fifth century, 
which still remains at one angle of the church. 

Mallwyd. — Some say this place derives its name 
from maen, a stone, and Uwyd, grey. A Druidic monu- 
ment is supposed to have been here ; whence came the 
name. The name is a compound of ma-llwyd, the grey 
district ; so called probably from the appearance of 
the mountains. 

Nannau. — A compound of nant, a brook, and au, a 


plural termination. The t is dropped and n substituted 
ior the sake of euphony. 

Penrhyndeudraeth. — Penrhyn, headland ; dau, 
iwo ; traeth, beach, seashore. The headland projects 
into the Tremadoc Bay, between the Traeth Mawr and 
the Traeth Bach. 

Peniarth. — The right wording is probabl}- Peny- 
garth, which means hill-top, from the village being 
situate on a part of the Cader Idris range. 

Pandy 'r Capel. — Pandy means a fulling-mill, which 
was situated near what is supposed to have been some- 
time a Roman Catholic Chapel. 

Pennal.— A compound of Pen, head, top, and 
tal, of the same meaning. The village lies on the 
old Roman road called " Sarn Helen," Helen's cause- 
way, and it is supposed that the Romans had a station 

Rhyderin. — Rhyd, a ford ; erin, a corruption of 
gerwin, rough. The name is derived from a rough and 
perilous ford across the Dysyni river. The etymology 
■of Dysyni is di-swn-wy , noiseless water. 

Rhydonen. — Rhyd, a ford ; onen. the ash tree. 

Rhyduchaf. — The name signifies the highest ford. 

Rhiwaedog.— 7?/jzw, slope, the brow of a hill ; 
gwaedog, bloody ; so called from a battle that was fought 
here between Llywarch Hen and the Saxons, in which he 
lost Cynddelw, the last of his sons. A small lake in the dis- 
trict is called PwU y Gelanedd, the pool of slaughter. 

Saeth Marchog. — In this place Owen Gwynedd 
is supposed to have surprised Reginald de Grey and 


seven knights [Saith Marchog) in his train ; hence the 
right wording is Saith Marchog, and its EngUsh name is 
Seven Knights. 

TowYN.— Edmunds derives the name from twyn, a 
curved hillock or bank ; but we think the right word 
is Tywyn, which is derived from tywodyn, sand ; hence 
the name signifies a place of sands. The village is 
situate near the seashore, and is celebrated as a beautiful 
bathing-place. Some translate Tywyn as sea-shore or 
sea-land. Bronyclydwr is not far distant from here, where 
the immortal Hugh Owen was bom in 1637. 

TANyBWLCH. — The name signifies below the pass. 
The place is situate at the brow of a hill overlooking the 
vale of Ffestiniog. 

Trawsfynydd. — Traws, across ; mynydd, a moun- 
tain. The name indicates a place situate on the side of 
a mountain. 

Talsarnau. — Tal, front-; sarnau, causeways, roads. 

Talyllyn. — The name signifies " the end or head 
of the lake," from the situation of its church at the 
head of a beautiful lake called Llyn Mwyngil. 

Tanygrisiau. — Tan, under, below ; y, the ; grisiau, 
steps, stairs. In coming down from Cwmorthin to 
Dolredyn, the pedestrians used to descend over a series 
of steps made of stones, called Grisiau Mawr, great 
steps ; and, on account of the village lying below these 
steps, it was called Tanygrisiau. 

Y Cwrt. — The Court. We find the names Top y 
Cwrf,. a.nd Tower Court in the locality, and a few Roman 
remains are visible at Cefncaer. 


The Welsh name is Trefaldwyn, Baldwin's town, so- 
called in honour of Baldwin, a Norman general, who 
built a castle on the border of the county. In 1090- 
the castle was taken by Roger Montgomery, and the 
Saxons called the place afterwards Montgomery. Some 
seem to think the English name is a Norman corrup- 
tion of Mynydd y Cymry, the mount of the Kymry. 

Aberhavesp. — The place is situate at the con- 
fluence of the rivers Havesp and Severn ; hence the 
name. Havesp signifies a river whose channel is dry 
in the summer. 

Aberrhosan. — Aber, estuary ; rhosan, the name of 
the river, which signifies the meadow brook. 

Abermule. — The village is situated near the point 
where the river Mule discharges itself into the Severn. 
Mule is probably a contraction of mudliw, changing 
colour, from which we have the English motley. 

Berriew. — The correct etymology, doubtless, i& 
Aher-rhiw. The river Rhiw flows through the parish 
and empties itself into the Severn. Rhiw, perhaps,, 
from rhiw, what breaks out. 

Blaenglesyrch. — A place situate on the rivulet 
Glesyrch. from which it takes its name. Glesyrch is a. 
corruption of glas-erch, dusky blue. 

BuTTiNGTON. — The Welsh name is Talybont, bridg- 
end, from a bridge crossing the Severn near it. Offa's 
Dyke passes through the parish, and here separates 


England from Wales. During the Saxon period it was 
called Butdigingtune ; hence Buttington. The name sig- 
nifies Archer's town. 

BwLCHYFFRiDD. — Bwlch, pass, breach ; y, the ; 
^ridd, plantation, forest. 

Carno. — From cam, cairn, heap. Pennant says : 
" The mountains of Carno, like those of Gilboa, are 
celebrated for the fall of the mighty." On a mountain 
called Mynydd y Gam, or Garnedd, a huge heap of stones 
was raised to commemorate the death of a celebrated 

Cann Office. — An abbreviation of Cannon Office, 
so called from the cannon used by Cromwell's soldiers 
during their encampment in the place. 

Ceri. — A corruption of Caerau, fortresses or walls. 
according to some ; but some derive it from Ceri Hir 
Lyngwyr, the name of Caradog's grandfather, who was 
the owner of the estate, which, as it was customary 
then, was called after his name. Others derive it from 
ceri, the medlar tree, which, it is supposed, abounded in 
the district in time of yore. The place takes its name, 
probably, from the river Ceri, the swift water. 

Cerrist. — ^From the river name, which means swift 



Cemmaes. — A compound of cefn, back, ridge, and 
maes, a field, or better from cam and niaes=la.nd at the 
bend of the river. 

Clitterwood. — Perhaps from glitter and wood. 

Crigion. — ^A corruption of crugiau, he^ps.', 

Church Stoke. — ^From stoc, or stocce, p^ie stem or 
main part of a tree. Woodstock, woody place. 


CwMBELAN. — Belan, signifies a woody ridge. 

Cyfeiliog. — This pleasant vale is named in honour 
of Owen Cyfeiliog, who, in 1130, became the sole owner 
of the estate through the death of his grandfather, 
Meredyth, the prince. The name means " compact 

Caersws. — It appears, that, the Romans had a 
station and a road in this place. The latter was called 
Sam Swsan, Susan's road, portions of which are dis- 
cernible to this day. The station was probably called 
after the same name, and the Britons decided to per- 
petuate it, reducing Swsan to Sws ; hence Caersws. 

Croesllwybir. — Crbes, cross, over ; llwybir, a cor- 
ruption of llwyhr, a way, path. 

Cyfronydd. — A compound of cyd, with, united, and 
bronydd, sloping hills. Cyfronydd Hall is situated on a 
rising eminence, commanding the beautiful sceneries of 
the valley below, through which the river Manw flows. 

Dolarddin. — Some are of opinion that this place 
was named in honour of Arddun, daughter of Pabo Post 
Prydain, and a saint of the sixth century. Arddun 
means sublime, grand, from ddl+ ar + dinlas ^the meadow 
beyond the fort. 

Darowex. — A corruption of dar or den, oaks, and 
Owain, name of a man. 

Derllwyn. — From deri, oaks, and llwyn, bush, 

DoLFOR. — A compound of dol, a meadow or plain, 
and fawr, large, great. 

Dolwen. — A compound of dol, meadow, and wen, 
feminine form of gwyn, wiyj-e. 


Doll. — A corraption of dol, a meadow. 

DwYRiw. — A compound of dwy, feminine of dau^ 
two ; and rhiw, slope, ascending path. 

DwYNANT. — Divy, two ; nant, brook ; signifying a 
place situated between two brooks that flow into the 
river Bachog. 

Dylifau. — Some think the name is the plural form 
of dylif, a warp. Dylif goton, a cotton warp. It is 
sometimes spelt Dyli^e, which is probably a contraction 
of dylif-le, which means a high place whence water 
flows to different directions. 

DoLYFELiN. — Dol, meadow, dale ; y, the ; melin, 
mill. Near this place is the site of an ancient British 
smelting-hearth, where numerous pieces of lead-ore 
have been found. 

Dyffryn. — A village in the parish of Meifod. 

Esgair-Geiliog. — Esgair means a conspicuous pro- 
montory. Geiliog-geilig, hunting, exploring. The name 
signifies a hunting-ground. 

Esgair Maen. — Maen, a stone. The name signi- 
fies a stony or rocky ridge. 

FoRDEN. — Perhaps an Anglo-Saxon word, meaning 
a shallow part of a river where a road crosses. The 
use of the Anglo-Saxon verbal plural en is very common 
in some parts of this county. 

Gaer. — From caer, a fortress. This place is in the 
parish of Caereinion. 

Garth Mill. — Garth, an enclosure, a ness, a 


Garthbeibio. — Peibio is a modification of Peibiaw, 
the name of a king recorded in many of the Welsh legends. 

Garth Gellin. — Gellin, perhaps, is a corruption 
of collen, hazel-tree. 

Glyn Clywedog. — Glyn, a glen, a narrow vale ; 
Clywedog, the ' roaring river ' that runs through the glen.. 

Glanynant. — The name signifies the bank of the 

Glyn Trefnant. — Glyn, a glen, a narrow vale ; 
Trefnant is a corruption of tri-nant, three ravines (?) 

Gribbin. — A compound of crib, crest, summit ; y,. 
the ; bryn, hill ; signifying a place situated high on the 
hill. Crib mvnydd, the summit of a mountain. 

Guilsfield. — The Welsh name is Cegidfa, signi- 
fying a place of hemlock, or, perhaps, it is a compound 
of cegid, the bird witwal ; and fan-man, place. Some 
derive Guilsfield from St. Gulan's field. Perhaps it is a 
compound of guild, an incorporation, and field. 

GuNGROG. — A corruption of Gicaun-y-grog, the 
m.eadow of the cross, so called from the supposition 
that a cross was erected here in the middle ages in con- 
nection with the Ystrad Farchell monastery. 

GwESTYDD. — From gwest-ty-ddin, the camp resting- 

GwERN-Y-BwLCH. — Gii'em, a swamp, a bog ; y, the ; 
hidch. a pass, a gap. The name is derived from a moun- 
tain-pass in the district, from which a distant view of 
Cader Idris is obtained. 

GwERN Esgob. — Gwern, a swamp, a meadow ; 
Esgob, a bishop. 


HiRNANT. — Hir, long ; nant, a brook. The village 
is situated in a narrow valley, and watered by an incon- 
siderable stream, tributary to the Tanat. 

Llangadfan. — ^The church was dedicated to St. 
■Cadfan. The " Myvyrian " says : — " This Cadvan, being 
a nobleman and son-in-law of the king of Armorica, 
■came over with Uthr Bendragon, or his son king Arthur, 
and a great number of pious and learned men in his 
retinue, and chose for his residence Ynys Enlli (that is 
the monastery in the Isle of Bardsey), where he was 
an abbot, and many of his followers had churches dedi- 
cated to them." Some of his followers were Cynon, 
Padarn, Tydecho, Dochtwy, Mael, &c. Cadvan means 
the battle-place. 

Llangurig. — A village near Plinlimmon. The 
church was dedicated to Curig, an eminent saint of 
the seventh century. Eisteddfa Curig, Moel Gurig, in 
"the same vicinity, bear his name. Curig-curiog means 
bearing pain or affliction. 

Llanfyllin. — From Myllin, to whom the church 
was dedicated. Myllin is an old Welsh word implying 
a violet. 

Llanwyddelen. — From Gwyddelan, the patron saint 
of the church. Gwyddelan is probably a compound of 
gwydd, wood, and elain, a young hind, a fawn. 

Llanidloes. — Idloes, a saint of the seventh century, 
is the patron saint of the church. Professor Rhys refers 
the prefix id to the Skr. yudh, " to fight ; " and loes is 
probably a mutation of glwys, full of love, signifying one 
-eager to fight ; or perhaps the suf&x is gloes, a pang, a 
pain. We adopt the former. 


Llandinam. — Dinam is referred by some to the 
Roman Dinum, a frequent termination in place-names- 
in Gaul and Britain, equivalent to the English Tune, 
now ton, town, &c. Others take Dinam to be a proper 
name, hence the name signifies Dinam's Church. Dinam 
was formerly Dinan=a httle hill fort. 

Llangynog. — The church is dedicated to Cynog, 
the eldest son of Brychan. 

Llangwynog. — Gwynog, son of Gildas, a saint of 
the sixth century, is the patron saint of the church- 

Llandy'silio. — The church is dedicated to Tvsilio, 
the son of Brochwel Ysgythrog. 

Llanfair Caereinion. — Llanfnir, a church dedi- 
cated to St. Mary. Caer. fortress ; Einion, the name 
of the river near which the town is situated. The 
latter part of the name is derived from an old British 
encampment, about three miles from the town, parts 
of which are discernible to this day. 

Llanerfyl. — The church is dedicated to Erfyl, in 
memory of whom a large stone is erected in the church- 

Llanyiiechain. — Mechain is a compound of ma, a 
place ; and cain, fair, the name of the river on which 
the church is situate. This parish is famous for being 
the birth-place of Gwallter Mechain, in 1761. 

Llanfihangel-yn-Ngwynfa. — The church is dedi- 
cated to St. Michael, and the village is situated in that 
part of Powys called Gnynfa, the blessed place ; hence 
the name. 

Llanymynach. — Mynach here is probably a corrup- 
tion of ntwnau, mines. The ch is frequently added to 


plural nouns ending with an. Mwnau is the right word, 
but it is colloquially pronounced mwnach. The place 
probably derives its name from the mines in which the 
district formeily abounded, and which were worked so 
early as the Roman period. Some think the word is 
mynach, monk, from the supposition that a monk lived 
some time in the vicinity. 

Llansantffraid. — From St. Ffraid, to whom the 
church is dedicated. 

Llanwddyn. — ^The church was probably dedicated 
to a monk named Wddyn, who, according to tradition, 
lived in a sequestered spot in the neighbourhood. 

Llanwrin. — From Gwrin, to whom the church is 

Llandrinio. — Trinio is the patron saint of the 

Llanllwchhaiarn. — From Llwchhaiarn, to whom 
the church is dedicated. 

Llanbrynmair. — Bryn, a hUl ; Maiv, the Virgin 
Mary. The church is dedicated to St. Mary, and 
pleasantly situated on an eminence ; hence the name. 

Machynlleth. — Some derive the name thus : Ma, 
a place ; chyn, from cain, fair, beautiful ; lleth, an abbre- 
viation of Uethr, a slope. Another derivation : Mach, a 
high ridge, a barrier ; yn, in or on ; lleth-lleihr, a slope. 
Edmunds thinks lleth is a contraction of llaith, dead, 
and that the name signifies " the field of the dead by 
the wayside." Others think the name signifies " Cyn- 
llaith's field," and this is, no doubt, the right derivation. 


MocHNANT. — Moch, quick, swift ; nant, brook ; the 
name of the swift stream, that flows through the place, 
or more probably^swme dale. Compare Pant-y-moch 
as a place-name. 

Meifod. — Mai, a plain, or campaign country ; 
bod, a dwelling. The parish consists of an open and 
extensive tract of land. Or, perhaps, it is a compound 
of maes, a field ; and hod, a dwelling ; signifying a dwell- 
ing in a field. Some derive it from mai-fod. May resi- 
dence. Others say that a hermit sometime resided in the 
neighbourhood, hence meudwy-jod, the hermit's place. 

Manledd. — A compound, probably, of ban, a high 
place, a summit or top, a peak ; and Lethr, slope. In the 
old parish registers it is spelt Manleth and Ban-lethr. 

Moughtre. — A corruption of Mochdre. 

Newchapel. — So called from the chapel which is 
situated on the confines of the parishes of Guilsfield. 
Llansantfiraid, and Meifod, for the accommodation of 
those who reside at a distance from the parish church. 

Newtown. — A translation of the Welsh name 
Trefnewydd. Its ancient name was Llanfair-yn-N ghyd- 
ewain ; but, in consequence of the large flannel manu- 
factories that were built there, the place grew so rapidly 
that, in 1832, the privileges of corporation were bestowed 
upon it, and henceforth it was called Newtown. 

Pool Quay. — A village near Welshpool, whence it 
derives its name. 

Pennant Melangell. — Pen, head or end ; nant, 
brook ; Melangell, called in a Latin saint book St. Mona- 


cella. Her remains were interred in Pennant Church, 
■which, henceforth, was called Pennant Melangell. 

Penstrowed. — Pen, termination, head ; strowed, 
perhaps from ystref-wydd, a dwelling among trees ; or 
irom pen strata, the termination of a Roman road. Com- 
pare Stroud (Gloucestershire). 

Penybont Fawr. — A village in the parish of Pennant. 

Penygelli. — The name signifies the head or termi- 
nation of the grove. 

PoNT-DoLGOCH. — This name signifies a bridge on 
the red meadow. 

Pentref Heilyn. — This pentref (village) derives its 
name from a family named Heilyn, who flourished here 
in the time of " Llewelyn, the Last Prince." Heilyn 
means a cup-bearer, a waiter, a butler. Heilio gwin, to 
serve wine. Heilyn was a personal name very generally 
used in mediaeval Wales. 

Penegoes. — A corruption of Penegwest. The place 
derives it3 name from a supposition that a Welsh chief 
named Egwest was beheaded near the church. 

PoNTDOLANOG. — ^A compound probably of pont, 
bridge, and dolenog, having curves or bows. 

Pentre. Cilcwm — Pentre, village ; Cil-cwm, a 
•sequestered place in a valley. 

Rhiw Saeson. — RMw, slope ; Saeson, Saxons, 
English. We find the name Saeson introduced into 
many names in the district : Nantysaeson, Saxons' 
brook ; Plas-rhiw-Saeson, and Rhiw Saeson. About 300 
-years ago a number of Saxon soldiers were stationed 
in the place which is now called Rhiw Saeson. 


Snead. — From the English snced, a piece of land, 
separated from a manor. 

Staylittle. — The ancient name was Penfforddlas, 
the head or end of the green way. The present name 
is derived from a public -house in the place bearing the 

Tylwch. — Tradition has it that the name is a corrup- 
tion of tawelwch, calmness, tranquility, the word used by 
a ^^'elsh Prince, probably Llewelyn ein llyw olaf, when he 
was marching through the place. Ty, a house ; llwch, 
a lake or inlet of water. 

Tregynon. — From the dedication of the church to 
St. Cynon. 

Tafolog. — The name implies a place abounding in 
dock plants ; dail tafol, dock leaves. 

Trefeglwys. — The name means a hamlet or a. 
district privileged with a church. 

Tir-y-Mynach. — Tir, ground ; territory, r, the ; 
myiiach, monk ; so called from the township having 
som.e time formed a portion of the possessions of the 
Abbey of Strata Marcella. 

Welshpool. — The Welsh name is Trallwm, or 
Trallwng. — Tra, extreme, very ; llwng, a corruption of 
llwnga, so called from the great depth of the lake below 
Powys Castle. The nam.e signifies a greedy swallow. It 
has been prophesied that the pool is some day to swallow 
up the whole of the town of Welshpool. It was called 
Welshpool by the English to distinguish it from a town in 
Dorsetshire called Poole. Tra+llwng^:the place beyond 
the bog. 


Some Welsh scholars think that the Old WelsL 
form of the name was Penbrog or Penbrogh, and the 
Latinized form Pembrochia, whence probably the Eng- 
lish Pembroke. The roots are pen, head, end ; 
and bi'o, a country, or extensive tract of land, signi- 
fying a headland, which is a very proper appellation, 
since the county forms the west end of Wales. The 
name Dyved was once applied to the whole county^ 
from which the Roman DimetcE was derived, but in the 
time of Giraldus Cambrensis, the small peninsula of 
Castlemartin, lying between Milford Haven, on the 
north, and the Bristol Channel on the south, consti- 
tuted the province of Pembroke. The nam.e was also 
extended to the town and fortress built there by Arnulph 
de Montgomery, in the reign of Henry I., and ultimately 
it was given to the whole county. 

Angle. — Probably from the angle-like form of the 
district. It lies in angulo. 

Amblestox. — This place was named in honour of 
Hamill, one of the Vikings who founded the Welsh 

Amroth. — Am, about, encircling ; roth, a corrupted 
form of rhath, a mound or hill, and rhath is used to 
denote a plain or moorland. Roath, Cardiff, comes 
from the latter root. In " Liber Landavensis " it is 
called Radh and Llanrath. 

Brawdy. — Fenton thinks it is a mutation of Broad- 
way. We incline to think it has a more ancient deri- 


vation. Brawd is an ancient Welsh word for judgment. 
Dydd brawd, the day of judgment. Dy-ty, house. The 
remains of an old British encampment that are dis- 
cernible near a farmhouse called Brawdy points to the 
probability that a judgment court was held here ; hence 
the name Brawdy or Brawd-dy. 

Butter Hill. — In an ancient deed it is called 
"" the Grange of Butter Hill," supposed to have been a 
grange to the Priory of Pill, settled by the founder, 
Adam de Rupe. Butter, perhaps, is a corruption of 
Buthar, the name of another Viking who visited these 

Brimston. — From Brimi, the name of a Norse 
■settler. Brimi is the Norse for flame, and the name of 
a magical sword mentioned in Norse poetry. Brimt 
has left his name in Brimscomb, Somerset. 

BucKSTON. — Named in honour of Bakki, a Norse 

Burton. — An old Saxon form of Briton. Briton 
Ferry was once called Burton Ferry. 

Brynberian. — Bryn, a hill ; berian, according to 
some, comes from Beran, the name of a rivulet, signify- 
ing a short river ; but we incline to derive berian from 
beri, a kite or glede. Beri Farm, near Newport, Pem., 
was so called probably from the visit of the kite to this 

Boncath. — Named after another of the bird species, 
the buzzard. 

Bugely. — Bu, an ox ; gely, a corruption of gelly, a 
g;ro\'e, signifying the buffalo of the forest. 


Blaenffos. — ^The village takes its name from a 
farmhousq so called, signifying the head of the ditch. 
We have Penyfoes, or, as it should be written, Penyffos, 
near St. David's, so named from the tenement of Mynydd- 
Din, bounded by a deep ditch. 

Blaenconin. — The name signifies a place situate 
at the source of the river Conin. 

Barry. — ^The name means bare island. 
Colby. — A compound of cold and the Norse hy, an: 
abode ; signifying a cold place. 

Caldy. — ^The name is Norse, signifying cold island. 

CiLGERAN. — ^This name has been, more wittily than 
correctly, derived thus : Cil yw dy gaerau, Ann — narrow 
are thy walls, Ann. Cil or kil forms a part of a large 
number of Welsh, Irish, and Scottish names of places. 
It means a hidden place, a place of retreat. Cil haul, 
the shade, or where the sun does not shine. Geran is- 
an abbreviation of Geraint, son of Erbin, and a prince 
of Devon. Before the castle was built the spot was 
known by the name Dingeraint, Geraint's fortress. The 
prefix din was changed into cil, and now the name signi- 
fies the place of retreat of Geraint. 

CiLFOWYR. — Some think the right wording is Cil 
Ofwyr, signifying Ovates' place of retreat. Probably 
Fowyr is a personal name. 

Castle Martin. — So named in honour of Martin, a 
descendant of Martin de Tours. The family built a 
castle here in tim-e of yore, of which Leland remarks ■ 
"Towards this extreme part of Pembrokeshire be the 
vestigia of Martin Castle." The old name was Bwlchy- 
clawdd, after a farm so named. 


Coed Glasan. — The name signifies " Glasan's 

Creamston. — Cream is a corruption of Grim, the 
name of a Norse settler. 

Camrose. — An Anghcized form of Camrhos ; cam, 
crooked, and rhos, heather. 

Castle Morris. — So called in honour of a man 
named Morris. 

Cylch Bychan. — The parish is divided into four 
districts, of which this is the smallest ; hence the nam.e. 
Cylch Bychan, the small district. 

Capel Newydd.— a small village not far from 
Casiell Newydd. 

Cilymaenllwyd. — Cil, hidden place ; y, the ; maen, 
stone ; llwyd, grey. 

Clydey. — So named in honour of Clydai, a daughter 
of Brychan, to whom the church is dedicated. 

Crymych. — We find the root crwm in crymlin and 
cromlech. The name may be a contraction of crwm- 
rhych ; crwm, bending, concave, crooked ; rhych, ditch, 

Creseley. — The roots are cres, a heating or parch- 
ing, and gelly, a grove, so called probably from the 
abundance of culm and coal in the district (?) 

Carew. — A corruption of caerait, walls, or fortifica- 
tions. The castle was built by Nest, the daughter of 
Rhys ab Tewdwr, Prince of South Wales, or from caer 
+yw=ye\N tree. 

Dale. — A Norse name, signifying a broad vJley, 
answering to the Saxon " vale," and to the Welsh cwm. 


One writer thinks it is a contraction of De Vale, the 
name of one of its ancient lords, in whose time it was 
•dignified with the title of a borough. 

DiXAS. — This place derives its name from Pen dinas, 
the promontory that forms a part of the Fishguard 
anchorage. Fortified walls were once built on the 
headland ; hence it was called Pen dinas. 

Drewson. — A corruption of Druid's town. Near 
the village there is an enclosure of nearly one acre 
called Drewson chapel. The stones which formed the 
Druidical circle were removed in 1740. 

Eglwyswrw. — Eglwyseirw is the right wording, the 
•church being dedicated to Eirw, whose remains are 
supposed to have been interred here. 

EsTiNGTON. — A translation of Tre lestyn, lestyn's 
"town. lestyn was a Welsh prince. 

Freysthorp. — ^The prefix refers to the goddess 
Freya (Friday), and the affix thorp is the Norse word 
ior village, and the equivalent of the Saxon ham. 

Felindre. — ^This place has probably taken its 
name from an old mill that was in the vicinity. 

Fishguard. — Abergwaun is the Welsh name, from 
its situation at the mouth of the river Gwaen or Gwain, 
which implies a river taking a level or straight course. 
It bore the name of Fishgarth as far back as the time of 
Richard IL The Welsh garth and the Norse gardr, 
•originally meant an enclosure or yard. The name 
■occurs in Normandy, as Fisigard, Auppegard, and Epe- 
gard, the former of which may be compared with Fish- 
guard, which means a fishing wear or fishing enclosure. 


Flatholm. — A large body of Danes took refuge 
here in the year 918, and left their mark in the above 
name, which was originally Fladholmene, signifying a. 
flat island. Holm is the Danish word for a grassy bank 
near water, or an island. Stockholm, the Swedish capital, 
is situated on two grassy hills near the water. 

Flemingston. — ^This name is a conclusive ethno- 
logical evidence of the Flemish settlement. 

Gellyswick. — Another hybrid. Gelly, a grove ; 
wick, a creek or bay. 

Gresholm. — A compound of grass and holm, signi- 
fying a grassy island. 

GoMFRESTON. — So Called in honour of Gornt or 
Gomfre, a Norse settler. 

Glynderwen. — A compound of clyn, a place- 
covered with brakes, and derwen, oak. 

GooDWiCK. — Some say it is a corrupted form of the 
Welsh coedwig, a forest ; but we are inclined to think it 
is a hybrid name, made up of good, and the Norse wick, 
a creek or bay. Isaac Taylor is of opinion that the 
Vikings, or " creekers," derived their name from the 
wics or creeks in which they anchored. In the ninth 
and tenth centuries the creeks and islands along the 
Welsh coast, especially those of Pembrokeshire, were 
infested with these marauders. The Anglo-Saxon verb- 
wician means to run a ship on shore, to take up a sta- 
tion, and finally it became to mean a village, 

Haverfordwest. — The Welsh is Hwlffordd, from (?)■ 
hwyl, a sail, and ffordd, a way, a striking appellation to 
a place where a sea makes its way into it. Edmunds- 
derives the English name from Gajr-ffordd-gwest, the ina 


on the goat's road. Haver is rather perplexing. It may 
be a modification either of the Norse hofn or of the 
Welsh aher ; ford, perhaps, from fjord ; and west is 
probably a differentia added to distinguish it from 
Haverford East. 

Hakin. — Also called Hagin, which is probably a 
modification of the Danish hagen, a port. Compare 

Harroldston. — So called in honour of Harold, a 
Norse settler, who became the lord of the manor. 

Henllan. — The nam.e signifies an old church, so 
called from the supposition that an old chapel of ease 
stood here in ancient times, but whose ruins are not 
now discernible. 

Henry's Moat. — There is a mound called Castell 
Hendref, the castle, of the old town, in the parish, sur- 
rounded by a moat, and when the English settled here 
they attempted a translation of the name, reducing 
Hendref to Henry, and Castell to moat ; hence Henry's 

Harburston. — From Herbrandt, the name of a 
Fleming, who, soon after the Conquest, fixed his abode 
at that place. 

HoNEYBOROUGH. — Honey is probably a corruption 
of Hognt, the name of a Viking, who settled here soon 
after the Conquest ; or perhaps, it is from Hunna, a 
chief's name. We find Honeybourne, Hunna 's Brook, 
in Worcestershire. Some think it was so called because 
honey was so largely made here in olden times. 

Hearston. — So called in honour of Hearn, a Norse 


HoDGESTOX. — A modification of Oggeston or Hogges- 
ton, probably from some Norse chief called Ugga. 

HuBBERSTON. — So Called in honour of Rubber, or 
Hubba, a Norman warrior, who, with his brother Hingua, 
led the Norsemen in that great invasion of 866. His 
name is also preserved in Hubberst, Derbyshire ; and 
probably in Obbeston, Somerset. 

HuNGERSTON. — From Hingwar, the companion of 
Ubba, 866. 

Jameston. — So named in honour of James, a Fleming 
■who took refuge here after the submersion of Flanders 
in the year mo. 

Jeffreston. — From Jeffrey, another of the settlers 
of Anglia Transwallia. Jeffrey or Geoffrey is probably 
a Norman corruption of Godfred, the good peace, or 
God's peace. 

Johnstown. — Named in honour of John, an 
English nobleman, it is supposed of the twelfth century. 

Keston. — Probably from Kessa or Cissa, a Norman. 
Keswick (Cumberland), Cissa' s dwelling. 

Lawrenny. — Some think it is a corruption of Uaw- 
reni, plural of llawren, or llawr, floor, ground. Others 
think it is a corruption of Llan-yr-ynys, a church in the 
island. This accords with the topographical situation 
•of the place, as it is an island surrounded by water, 
forming two creeks, one running to Carew, and the 
other to Langwm. 

Langum. — A corruption of Llangwm, signifying a 
church in the valley. 


LuDCHURCH. — The Welsh name is Eglwys Lwyd. 
Lud is an AngUcism of Iwyd-lhcyd, adorable, blessed. 

Lambstone. — So called in honour of Lamhi or 
Lamha, one of the settlers of the Welsh colony, whose 
name is also preserved in Lambeth, Lambourne, and 
in the surname Lambe. 

Lamphey. — A corruption of Llanyffydd, Fanum 
Fidei, the church of the faith. It is spelt in some old 
documents Llanfaith and Llanfeth ; then it was cor- 
rupted into Llanfey and Lamphey. The consonant n is 
frequently substituted in Welsh place-names in lieu of 
the letter ni. 

Lanteague. — Probably a corruption of Llan-dcg, 
signifying a fair church. 

Letterston. — A translation of the Welsh name, 
Trelettert, from Lettard, the ancient owner of the land, 
^'ho gave the advowson of the church, with the chapel 
■of Llanjair annexed, to the commandery of Slebech. 

Llaniaden. — laden is a corruption of Aeddan, the 
name of the patron saint of the parish church. Pro- 
fessor Rhys refers the name Aedd to the word udd, which 
is explained in Dr. Davis's dictionary as meaning dominus, 
master. " It would seem," he says, " to be matched in 
O. Irish by Oeda, the genitive of Oed, later Aedh, Aodh, 
Haodh, Anglicized Hugh, and the late Mr. Stephens, of Mer- 
thyr Tydfil, was probably right in regarding the Aedd of 
modern Welsh tradition as a Goidelic importation from 
North Britain." 

Llanfrynach or Llanfyrnach. — From Brynach, a 
popular Irish saint, who accompanied Brychan Brych- 
■einiog to Britain in the fifth century. 


Llangloffan. — Ths church is dedicated to Cloffan^ 

Llangolman. — From Colman, supposed to be an 
Irish saint. 

Llanwnda. — Wnda is a corruption of Gwyndaf, a 
descendant of Emyr Llydaw, and a saint of the sixth, 
century, who is supposed to have been the founder of 
the church. Llanwnda Point is celebrated for the 
surrender, in 1797, of the French troops under General 

Llantyd. — Tyd is an abbreviation of Illtyd, ta 
whom the church is dedicated. It is also called Llaniwd. 

Llandeloy. — A corruption of Llandeilo ; the parish 
church is dedicated to Teilo. 

Llanrhian. — Rhian is supposed to ha^■e been the 
founder of the church. 

Llanstinan. — Stinan or Justinian, a saint of the 
sixth century, was the founder of the church. 

MiLFORD Haven. — Some are of opinion that this 
is a translation of Rhyd-y-milwr, the name of a brook ; 
taking mil from milwr, a soldier, and translating rhyd 
into ford, then Milford. Others think it is an Angli- 
cized form of Myl for, or ymyl mor, bordering the sea. 
Within a mile of the present town a streamlet was- 
wont to turn a mill that belonged to the Priory, and, 
before the bridge-period had dawned in the district, the 
people were obliged to cross the brook over the mill's- 
ford, called in Welsh Rhydyfelin, and we incline to think 
Milford is a translation of Rhydyfelin. The Welsh name 
is Aber-daii-gleddyf, from the fact that the two rivers, 
Cleddau Fawr and Cleddaii Fach, discharge themselves 


into the haven. Dau Gleddyf means two swords. It 
appears that the two rivers in their flowing course resem- 
ble two swords ; hence the name. 

MoLESTON. — The place was once remarkable for 
its numbers of moles, on account of which it was called 
Moleston, moles' town. Compare Molton (Devon) and 
Molesworth (Hants)^ &c. 

Manorbier. — Very many of the inhabitants think 
the name was derived from an expression made by the 
eye-witnesses of a conflict that took place between a 
man and a bear. When the combatants met vis-a-vis, 
the people shouted " Man or bear," hence Manorbier. 
We dism_iss the derivation as an outcome of vain con- 
jecture. Some derive Pyrr from Barri, a Norman 
lord. Others think it is the plural of por, a lord. One 
writer derives it from, beyr, the Norse for farmstead. 
Evidently the English name is a modification of the 
Welsh Maenor Pyrr. Maenor is the Welsh for manor, 
and Giraldus Cambrensis (who was born here about 
the year 1146) thought it was called after Pyrrus, who 
took up his abode here ; hence Maenor Pyrr, Mansio 
Pyrr. or the residence of Pyr. Had we not better call 
it Manor Pyr ? 

Maenclochog. — Maen, a stone ; clochog, bell-like, 
ringing. It appears the place derived its name from a 
large stone that lay on the roadside near the church, 
which, on being struck, gave a bell-like sound (?) 

Mynwere. — This name seems like a corruption of 
Mwyn aur, gold mine, which was supposed to have 
been here in olden times ; but we rather think it is 
derived from a weir on the Eastern Cleddy, on the 


banks of which river the parish is situated, which was 
noted for the abundance of fish caught there during 
the season. 

Marloes. — Perhaps a mutation of Marlais ; mar, 
an extensive tract of land ; lais, a corruption of dais, 
a trench or rivulet. More probably from moel^oaxe, 
and rhos. 

Mazebridge. — The prefix may be the Anglo-Saxon 
maze, signifying a place or passage full of windings and 
turnings, which is very often spanned by a bridge. 

Marthrey or Marthri, which is perhaps a corrup- 
tion of merthyr, martyr. The place suffered very heavily 
from the Danish onslaughts, and the church is dedi- 
cated to the holy martyrs, or it may be from ma and 
trn(an)=a. wretched spot, a place of slaughter. 

Middle Mill. — A translation of Felinganol. A 
Baptist Chapel was built here in 1756, and called Felin- 
ganol, from its situation near a mill of that name, which 
intervened between two other mills. 

MuzzLEwiCK. — From Moussel, a Norse settler ; and 
wick, a creek or bay. 

Mynachlog Ddu. — Black monastery ; i.e., a 
monastery belonging to the Black Friars. 

Moylgrove. — A compound of moel, a bare pointed 
hill, and grove. 

Neyland. — The old Norman name was Nayland, 
from ev/flM(^^ (island) with a prefixed n, for which com- 
pare Narberth and Nash. We find Nayland in Suffolk 
and Nyland in Somerset. The inhabitants, aspiring hard 
to compete with their neighbours in Milford, abandoned 
the old name, and called the place New Milford. 


Narberth. — In the Mabinogion it is called 
Arberth, which signifies a place situated on a sloping 
hill, abounding with perthi, bushes. The name answers 
to the physical aspect of the town. The preposition 
yn, in, was generally used before Arberth ; hence the 
consonant n adhered to the name, and thence we have 

Nevern. — ^The parish derives its name from the 
rivulet Nevern, which flows through it. Lewis, in the 
" Topographical Dictionary," thinks, very improbably, 
the word is derived from nifer, a number, on account of 
the numerous streamlets that run through the parish 
into the sea. Tegid spelt it Nanhyfer ; if so, the roots 
are nant, a brook ; and hyf, bold, daring (?) 

Nash. — Perhaps a modification of the Norse ness, a 
cape, or promontory, but probably from {aste)n asA=at 
the ash. Nash Point, Naze, and Nazeby, come from 
the same root. Nash village is situated near Milford Bay. 

NoLTON. — Not is supposed to be a contraction of 
Oliver ; hence the name Oliver's town. More probably 
from 'n Oldtown. Compare Narberth from yn Arberth. 

New Moat. — So called from the Flemings having 
constructed a new moat here in the tim.e of Henry II. 

Newport. — The Welsh name is Trefdraeth, which 
signifies " a town on the sands," from its situation 
near a sandy beach of considerable extent. Six or 
seven places in the United Kingdom bear the name 
Newport. It was wisely proposed sometime ago to 
change Newport, Monmouth, to Uskport. We would 
strongly advise the corporation of Trefdraeth to abandon 
the name Newport, and give it the right English name 
— Beachton. 


Newcastle. — There is an ancient mound near the 
church called " the castle," which was called " new " 
to distinguish it from a much older one, which is at a 
short distance from the village. Pantgrwndy, Pant, hol- 
low ; crwndy, a round house. 

Pelcwjl — From Pela, the titmouse ; and cwm, 

Penybryn. — The name signifies a place on the top 
of the hill. 

Pope Hill. ---The lower part of the county was once 
designated Pebydiog, from Pebyd, probably a man's 
name. Compare Dol Bebin in Carnarvonshire. 

Pater, or Pembroke Dock. This place once 
consisted only of a farm, one house, and a church, then 
designated Paterchurch. In 1812 surveys . were 
made, and in tvro years after the nucleus of the present 
Government Station was formed, when it was called 
Pembroke Dock. 

Penar. — The nam_e signifies a place situated on a 
high mountain. 

Penally. — Pen, head ; ally, a corruption of gelly, a 
grove ; signifying the head of the grove. The church 
is situated in a thickly-wooded place, o'- more probably 
from Pen+Alun. 

PONTFAEN. — Pout, bridge ; faen-maen, stone. Per- 
haps faen is a corruption of Gwaen, the name of the 
river that flows through the parish ; the bi-labial w 
being changed into the uni-labial /. 

Prendergast. — This place derives its nam.e from_ a 
Demetian family of the name, who were the owners of 
the land in olden times. Mauiice de Prendergast was 


the last ir.ember of the family that lived here. Some 
think the nam.e is a Saxonized form of Bryn y Gest. 
Bryn, a hill ; y, the ; gest-cest, a deep glen between two 
mountains having but one opening. Others say it is 
Pren-dwr-gwest, the inn by the tree near the vvater. The 
right wording is probably Pen-dre-gast. The sufiix is 
Druidic. Llech-yr-ast, in Cardiganshire, consists of five 
cist faen, stone chests or cells, enclosed within a circle 
■of rude stone pillars. 

PuNCHESTON. — Casmael, the Welsh name, is a 
■com_pound of Castsll, castle ; and Maelog, or m.ore 
probably Maelgwyn — Maelgwn Fychan. The " Myvy- 
rian " calls it Castell Mdl. Some derive the English 
nam.e from, pincan, pine tree ; Pincanes-tun, then Pim- 
theston, the tov/n of the pine trees. Others derive it 
from Povntz, a proper name, pronounced Punches. 

Roach. — A m.utation of rock, from, the castle being 
perched on a solitary rock standing out of the plain. 
The iirst possessor of the castle is supposed to have 
been Adam de Rupe, or Adam of the Rock, in the reign 
■of Henry I. The Roche family held possession of the 
castle until the reign of Henry VI., when their exten- 
sive estates were divided between two co-heiresses, 
since which tim.e it is supposed to have been abandoned 
as a residence. 

Rhosmarket. — Rhos, the name of the cantrev. A 
.market was once held here ; hence the market for Rhos. 
Rhos is spelt Roos, Roose, and Rouse by Enghsh writers. 

Rhydgwilym. — The Rev. William Jones was the 
first Baptist Minister of the place, and having per- 
iormed the rite of Baptism for the first time in the river, 
the spot was called after him Rhydgwilym. 


Reynoldston. — So called in honour of Reynold, a 
Fleming, who probably settled here in the reign of 
Henry I. 

Rogeston. — From Roger, another Fleming, who 
took up his abode here. 

St. David's. — A free translation of the Welsh 
Tyddewi, so called in honour of Dewi, David, the patron 
saint of Wales. Its ancient nam.e was Mynyw, jutting, 
peninsulated ; but after St. David removed there, and 
became the bishop of the see, and was buried, the old name 
was abandoned, and his honourable name was bestowed 
upon it. St. David was grandson of Ceredig, who gave his 
nam_e to Ceredigion, and was son of Cunedda. It is sup- 
posed that he was the first who systematically undertook 
to Christianise the people of Demetia. 

St. Dogmell's. — The Welsh name is Llandudoch, 
Tnd, a surface, a region ; cich, the Celtic for water, a 
name quite descriptive of the physical aspect of the 
place. The church was dedicated to Dogfael, son of 
Ithel, son of Ceredig. Dogmell is an Anglicism of Dogfael. 

St. Ismael. — This village derives its name from 
Isinael, a saint of the sixth century, and supposed to 
have been the founder of the church. 

St. Florence. — Called in Welsh Tregoyr, which is 
probably a corruption of Tregaer, walled town or place. 
We have no reason to suppose that this place was for- 
tified by a caer ; but it may be so called from its con- 
tiguity to a large wall that belonged to the extensive 
park of the Earls of Pembroke. The church was dedi- 
cated to 5/. Florence ; hence its present name. 


Star. — Probably after a public house so called. 

Stack. — The word is derived from the Norwegian 
stackr, a columnar rock, and is found in Stack Rocks, 
Stackpole, Head Penyholt Stack, and Stack Island, 
fringing the Pembrokeshire coast. 

St. Nicholas. — The place was once called Monk- 
ton, from the church being granted by Arnulph de 
Montgomery, in 1088, to the Abbey of St. Seyes in 
Normandy. In a short time after this a priory of 
monks of the Benedictine order, dedicated to St. 
Nicholas, was founded at this place, and made a cell 
to that foreign abbey. 

St. Lawrence. — This parish derives its name 
from the church, which is dedicated to St. Lawrence. 

St. Petrox. — A free translation of Llanbedrog. 
The church was dedicated to St. Pedrog, who flourished 
about the beginning of the seventh century, whence 
(St.) Pedrog' s corrupted into Petrox. 

SoLVA. — This beautiful little village derives its 
name from the river Solfach. Sol may be a corruption 
of sio, to hiss, whiz ; and lli, a stream, signifymg the 
hissing stream, or it may be derived from silod, seed- 
lings, young fish. Or, perhaps, sol is the feminine form 
of the adjective swl, which signifies dirty or muddy, 
modifying ach, water ; hence solach, the muddy stream. 
Some think the name is an Anglicism of Cilfach, giving 
the hissing sound to c ; hence Silfach, then Solfach, 
Solfa. It appears that the name was once spelt Cilfach 
and Silfach ; hence it might be easily changed to Solfach, 
Solfa. We adopt the latter. 


Spittal. — This name is a modification of the Latin 
hospitium. An yshytty, hospital, is recorded to have been 
erected in olden times near Roach encampment. 

Steynton. — This village probably was so called in 
honour of Adam de Stainton. Som.e derive it from stean, 
a stone, sometimes a boundary stone. 

Sutton. — An abbreviation of South-town. It is 
analogous with Surrey, the south realm, and Suffolk, 
the southern division of the East-Anglican folk. 

Sauxdersfoot. — The prefix is a contraction of 
Alexander. The name signifies Alexander's place at 
the foot of the hill. 

Silver Hill. — Perhaps the burial-place of a Viking 
called Solvar. 

South Dairy. — So called to distinguish it from the 
north and west dairies. 

Skokiiolm. — A Norse name signifying a wooded 
island. Holme is the Norse for an island. 

Tafarn Spite. — Tafarn, inn, public-house ; Spite, 
a corruption of yshytty, hospital ; the name is derived 
from an inn raised from the ruins of an hospitium. which 
had been founded there for the accommodation of the 
pilgrim traveller to the shrine of St. David's. Spital 
Square, London, derives its name from the church of 
the priory and hospital of St. Mary, which stood in 

Tier's Cross. — Perhaps from Thar, one of the 
A'ikings who founded the Welsh colony. 

Trefgarn. — Trej, place, town ; cam, heap, cairn ; 
signifying, literally, the town on the heap. There are 


great masses of rock contiguous to the village, which, 
from a distance appear like extensive ruins of build- 

Templeton. — This village is so called from the 
fact that the Knights of the Temple in olden 
made it a special place of resort. 

Trefin. — A corruption probably of Treffm, a boun- 

Tenby. — Called in Welsh Dinbych y Pysgod. The- 
word pysgod, fish, is the differentia added to distinguish 
it from its namesake in North Wales. Some maintain 
it is a corrupt Anglicism of the original name, dinbychan, 
the httle fortification or camp. The EngUsh name 
affords an ethnological evidence of the temporary occu- 
pation of the Danes. Ten is a mutation of Dane^ 
and by is Norse for a dvvelling, a residence, an abode ; 
hence the name signifies the dwelling-place of the 
Danes. Danesby would be the correct name. We 
have Danby, the Dane's abode in Yorkshire, and six- 
teen places in the north-east counties of England called 
Denton, the Dane's town. 

Tree Asser. — So called in honour of Bishop Asser, 
the bosom friend and celebrated biographer of Alfred 
the Greit. Some say that he was born here. Others 
derive it from Asserius Menevensis, who is supposed tO' 
have been born here, became a Benedictine monk, 
and was scribe and chancellor to his uncle Asser. 

Trewyddel. — Gwyddel, a forester, one that lives, 
in the wood ; hence the name means the woodman's 


Thornton. — So called in honour of Thorni, one of 
the Norse settlers. 

Tegryn — Tegfryn. — A corruption of teg, fair, 
.and hvyn, a hill. 

Treleddidfawr. — A corruption of tre, place ; 
lladdfa, slaughter ; and fawr, great ; signifying a place 
■of great slaughter. Some are of opinion that some 
bloody battles were fought in this district. 

Treteio. — Teio, perhaps, is a corruption of teiau, 
small houses, cottages, or of taeog, a vassal, tenant in 
villeinage, a peasant. One of the old Welsh laws reads 
thus: — " Tair yhandir a fydd yn y daeogdref " — there 
shall be three sharelands in the villem-town. 

Treflerw. — Lerw, an inflection of llerw, what is 
nice or delicate. 

Usjlaston. — Usmas is a corruption of Ismael, to 
whose memory the church is dedicated. 

WiSTON. — A free translation of Cas Gwys, the 
■Castle of Gwys, which was built by a Norman named 
Wiz ; hence the town of Wiz. 

Walton. — This district was given by a Norman 
named Walter de Wale to the Knights of St. John, and 
was so called in honour of the donor. 

WiLLiAMSTON. — So Called in honour of William, 
another settler of the twelfth century. 


The Welsh name, Maesyfed, is variously derived. 
In some ancient MSS. it is written Maeshyfaidd, which 
signifies a land of boldness, or a martial region. We 
are informed in the British " Triads " that three exiled 
princes, Gwrgai, Cadafael, and Hyfaidd Hir, the son of 
Caradog Freichfras, were on account of their military- 
prowess made kings ; the former two in the north, and 
Hyfaidd Hir in the south. Some are of opinion that 
the latter was made king of Radnor, and hence his name 
was bestowed upon it.* Others adhere to the pre- 
sent orthography, Maesyfed, which signifies " the imbib- 
ing mieadow," or " the drinking land," from the fact 
that the little river Somergill suddenly sinks into the 
earth in the vicinity of New Radnor, and then follows 
a subterranean course for a considerable distance. The 
popular derivation among the inhabitants is Maesy- 
fedw, from the abundance of birch-groves in the county. 
The English name, Radnor, was given to it in the reign 
of Henry VIII., and signifies the red district. We 
find Radford in Notts, Radlow in Hereford, Redcliff in 
Gloucester, &c. 

Aberedwy. — From the river Edwy that flows 
through the place. Edwy is probably a derivati\'e of 
eddu, to press on, to go. Or, perhaps, the right word- 
ing is aidwy, signifying the lively water (?) 

Abbey Cwm Hir. — Cwm Hir, long vale. Cadwallon 
ab Madoc built an abbey of the Cistercian order here in 
1 143 for 60 monks. The abbey was destroyed by Owen 

*This is the best supported derivation. 


Beguildy. — A corruption probably of Bugeil-dy, 
the shepherd's house, a very appropriate name in a 
sheep-rearing district. 

Blethfa (older Bleddfach). — Some derive it from 
blith, milk ; and man, a place ; signifying a dairy place. 
It is sometimes spelt Bleddfa as a contraction of 
Bleddyn-fan, Bleddyn's place. Bleddyn was the name 
of several bards in the years 1090-1260. We incline to 
think it is a compound of blaidd, wolf ; and man, place. 

BouGHROOD. — Edmunds thinks it is a corruption 
of huwch ffrwd, the cow's brook. We rather think it is 
an Anglicised form of Bachrhyd, which is a com.pound 
of bachog, crooked, having many turnings or windings ; 
and rhyd, a ford. A streamlet that discharges itself 
into the Wye, near the village, is called Bachwy, the 
meandering water. The Wye makes a sharp turning 
here. Maiandros, a river in Phrygia, is proverbial for 
its many windings, whence came the word meander. 
Some think the right wording is Bach-rhyd, signifying 
" the little ford " on the Wye, where a boat and horse 
were in constant attendance. 

Croesfeilig. — Croes, cross ; Meilig, the name of 
the son oi Caw, and a saint of the fifth century. 

Cregrina. — A mutilation of Crugynau, heaps. 

Colfa. — A corruption of Collfa, which means the 
place of the hazel-wood. 

Cascob. — In " Doomsday Book " it is railed Cas- 
cope, which, according to some, is a compound of cask 
and hope. — Mr. WilHams, in his " History of Radnorshire," 
derives it thus : " Cas, a fortress ; and cope, an eminence. 


The justness of this etymology is confirmed by tradition, 
which reports that a small fortification of earth formerly 
stood on a summit on which the church is erected ; or, 
perhaps, the name casgob might mean the eminence im- 
pending over the brook Cas, which runs through the parish, 
and discharges itself into the river Lug." 

Cefnllys. — Cefn, back, ridge ; llys, court, hall. 
Ralph Mortimer built a castle here in the year 1242, 
which suggests the probability of the place being defended 
against the incursions of the Saxons. The name might 
have been derived from a martial court that was held here. 
Camden says that there were ruins of an ancient fortress 
upon the spot when he wrote, almost surrounding the 
Court House, except on one side, where it lies open to the 

Cenarth. — Cen is Gaelic for pen, head ; arth is an 
abbreviation of garth, a hill. The place forms the lower 
end of the parish. 

CiLGiL, or KiLGiL. — Cil, a hidden place, a nook ; 
gil, probably a corruption of coll, the plural of collen, 
hazel-tree ; so called from the abundance of hazel wood 
in the district. 

CoED-GLASSEN.— -Co«^, wood ; glassen, a corruption 
of gleision, the plural of glas, green ; so named from the 
abundance of green trees that beautified the district in 
olden times. 

CwM-GELLAU, or CwM-GiLLA. — Cwm, a vale ; gellau, 
a corruption of collen, hazel-tree. The place lies in a 
beautiful valley, abounding with hazel wood. 

Cwmdauddwr. — Dauddwr, two streams of water, so 
called from the situation of the parish church near the 


confluence of the rivers Elan and Wye. The parish 
adjoins the counties of Brecon, Cardigan, and Mont- 
gomery, and is the only one in Radnorshire where Welsh 
is understood and spoken. According to colloquial pro- 
nunciation it is Cwmwd Douddwr, the commote of the two 

Clas Garmon. — Clas, a green spot or enclosure, a 
cloister ; Garmon, perhaps the memorable Germanus. 

Dyffryn Elan. — Dyffryn, a long vale ; Elan, the 
name of the river that runs through it. 

Evenjobb. — The popular opinion in the neighbour- 
hood anent the name is that a man named Job lived 
here at some remote period, and was proverbial, ai 
the prototype Job, for patience and evenness of tem.per, 
and hence the place was called in honoixr of him. The 
name is, perhaps, a compound of efes, brink or margin ; 
and hwpp, a slope. Burlinjobb, in the same county, 
means Brechla's hwpp or slope. It was anciently spelt 
Evanchobb, Evan's cop, i.e., Evan's hill-top. 

Felindre. — The name is a corrupt form of mileindref, 
a township under villain soccage tenure. 

Glascomb. — A compound of glas, green ; and comb, 
an Anglicism of cwm, a valley, a dingle. The village 
lies in a beautiful and verdant valley, where also stands 
the fine mansion of Glascomb. 

GoLON. — A corruption probably of colwyn, a sharp 
hillock, a promontory. 

Harpton. — A translation of the Welsh nam.e, 

Heyop. — ^A compound of have, a grove, and cope, an 


KiNNERTON. — A corraption of Cenarth, headland, 
and town, signifying a place at the headland. 

Knighton. — The Welsh name is Trefydawdd, 
Dykestown, so called from its contiguity to Offa's Dyke, 
traces of which are discernible to this day. The English 
name means knight-town, which, after the Norman Con- 
quest, was probably held on the tenure of knightly service, 
and is one of those names that illustrate the old law phrase, 
" a knight's fee." 

Knucklas. — A corrupted form of cnwc, a slight 
eminence, and glas, green. Cnwc has been corrupted in 
a few English place-names, such as Knock in (Salop), 
Knock-holt (Kent), and Knook (Wilts) ; and in Ireland 
we find Knockglass, Knockdow, &c. 

Llananno. — The church is dedicated to Wonno, or 

Llanbadarn Fawr. — The church is dedicated to 
Padarn, a descendant of Emyr Llydaw, and it is called 
Fawr in distinction from Llanbadarn-Fynydd and Llan- 

Llandegley. — The church was probably dedicated 
to Tegivel, a Welsh saint. Tegwel means a fair coun- 
tenance or aspect. 

Llangunllo. — The church is dedicated to Cunllo, 
a Welsh saint. Cunllo or Cynllo, is probably made up 
of cyn, the first or chief, and llo or la, referred by Pro- 
fessor Rhys to a word of the same origin as the Latin 
lupus, a wolf. 

Llandrindod. — Its ancient name was Ffynon Llwyn 
y Gog, the well of the cuckoo's bush ; but in 1603 the 


church was dedicated to the Drindod (Trinity) ; hence 
the name. 

Llanddewi-Ystradenni. — The church is dedicated 
to St. Dewi. Ystrad, a flat, a vale ; enni is obscure. The 
village is situated in a low vale on the river Ithon. 

Llanfareth. — The church is situated near the 
confluence of the rivers Mareth and Wye ; hence the 
name. Mareth signifies lively or active water. 

Llanfihangel Rhydithon. — The church is dedi- 
cated to St. Michael. Rhyd, a ford ; Ithon, the name of 
the river that flows through the parish. 

Llanyre. — Yre is an abbreviation of Llyre. The 
church is dedicated to Llyr, a descendant of Cunedda 
Wledig, and a saint of the fifth century. 

Meisty-Rhos-Lowry. — Meisty is, probably, a cor- 
ruption of maes, a field, and ty, a house ; rhos, a dry 
meadow, a plain. Lowry perplexes us ; the root perhaps, 
is llawr, ground. Lowry is however, a personal name 
which probably was connected with the place. 

MoNOGHTY. — A corruption of mynach-dy, a monas- 
tery. It is supposed that a monastery stood here in 
olden times. Monaughty Poydd (Salop) is said to be 
Monachty Poeth, the hot monastery. 

Nantmel. — Nant, a brook ; mil, according to some, 
is an abbreviation of Mael, a personal name ; but we 
rather think it is the Welsh for honey ; hence the name 
means honey-brook, so called, perhaps, from its hue, 
or from the hives of wild bees in the neighbouring rocks. 


Norton. — The name probably means north-town, 
or, perhaps, Norman town. The British name was 
supplanted by that of the Norman castle. 

Painscastle. — A castle was built here during the 
Norman period by the De Pain family, whose name 
was conferred upon it, and the village which lies at the 
base of the hill. Pain was a Norman knight, and his 
name is also preserved in Paignton (Devon) and Pains- 
wick (Gloucester). 

Presteign. — It was anciently known as Llanan- 
dras, so called from the dedication of the church to St. 
Andrew. The English name means the priest's town. 
It is almost the only instance of Prest occurring in Welsh 
place-names. We have thirty-six Prestons, two Prest- 
burys, and two Prestwolds, in the nomenclature of Eng- 
land ; but we have only two in Wales, and those occur 
practically on the English border. Prestatyn contains 
the same element. Who was the piiest of Presteign ? 
Probably David Martin, bishop of St. David's, about 
the end of the thirteenth century. He was an extra- 
ordinary benefactor to this place, having obtained for the 
inhabitants many privileges, and among others, those of 
holding a weekly market on Saturday, and fairs three 
times a year. 

Pantydwr. — The name signifies the hollow of the 

Penybont. — The end of the bridge ; hence Bridgend. 

PiLLETH. — A corruption of pwll, pool ; and llaith, 
moist, humid (?) The vale is very narrow and well- 
watered, which probably suggested the name, 


Rhaiadr. — This town derives its name from a 
Rhaiadr, a waterfall, that is contiguous to it. The 
Welsh call it Rhaiadr Gwy, from its situation on the 
eastern bank of the river Wye. The word rhaiadr is 
derived from the same root as rhedeg, to run, or perhaps, 
from rhtio, to roar, bluster, in allusion to the din of the 
water in its fallen state. 

Salford. — A compound of sallow, a willow, and 
ford ; signifying the willow ford. 

St. Harmon. — From St. Garmon, to whom the parish 
church is dedicated. Germanus — Garmon, Bishop of 
Auxerre, was the son of Rhedyn, and a native of Brittany, 
Giraldus says that " in the church of St. Harmon, near 
Rhaiadr, was the crutch of St. Cyrig, plated with gold, 
and adorned with pearls, above loft, called llofft y grog 
(because the image of the cross was generally painted on 
the front of the loft). This crutch possessed the virtue 
of healing many diseases, such as the plague, the king's 
evil, and all manner of swelling in the armpits. The sick 
person would kneel with reverence before the crutch, and 
offer a piece of money for his cleansing ; and unless this 
was done, no cure could be expected." This crutch was 
burnt at the Reformation. 

Trefonen. — Tref, an abode, a place ; oncn, ash tree. 

Weythel. — A corruption of Gicyddd, a man of the 
wood, an Irishman.